Definitions for: Nail


[n] a thin pointed piece of metal that is hammered into materials as a fastener
[n] horny plate covering and protecting part of the dorsal surface of the digits
[n] a former unit of length for cloth equal to 1/16 of a yard
[v] complete a pass, in football
[v] take into custody, as of suspected criminals, by the police
[v] attach something somewhere by means of nails; "nail the board onto the wall"
[v] hit hard; "He smashed a 3-run homer"
[v] locate exactly; "can you pinpoint the position of the enemy?"; "The chemists could not nail the identity of the chromosome"
[v] succeed at easily; "She sailed through her exams"; "You will pass with flying colors"; "She nailed her astrophysics course"
[v] succeed in obtaining a position; "He nailed down a spot at Harvard"



Webster (1913) Definition: Nail, n. [AS. n[ae]gel, akin to D. nagel, OS ? OHG.
nagal, G. nagel, Icel. nagl, nail (in sense 1), nagli nail
(in sense 3), Sw. nagel nail (in senses 1 and 3), Dan. nagle,
Goth. ganagljan to nail, Lith. nagas nail (in sense 1), Russ.
nogote, L. unguis, Gr. ?, Skr. nakha. ?]
1. (Anat.) the horny scale of plate of epidermis at the end
of the fingers and toes of man and many apes.

His nayles like a briddes claws were. --Chaucer.

Note: The nails are strictly homologous with hoofs and claws.
When compressed, curved, and pointed, they are called
talons or claws, and the animal bearing them is said to
be unguiculate; when they incase the extremities of the
digits they are called hoofs, and the animal is
ungulate.

2. (Zo["o]l.)
(a) The basal thickened portion of the anterior wings of
certain hemiptera.
(b) The terminal horny plate on the beak of ducks, and
other allied birds.

3. A slender, pointed piece of metal, usually with a head,
used for fastening pieces of wood or other material
together, by being driven into or through them.

Note: The different sorts of nails are named either from the
use to which they are applied, from their shape, from
their size, or from some other characteristic, as
shingle, floor, ship-carpenters', and horseshoe nails,
roseheads, diamonds, fourpenny, tenpenny (see Penny,
a.), chiselpointed, cut, wrought, or wire nails, etc.



4. A measure of length, being two inches and a quarter, or
the sixteenth of a yard.

Nail ball (Ordnance), a round projectile with an iron bolt
protruding to prevent it from turning in the gun.

Nail plate, iron in plates from which cut nails are made.


On the nail, in hand; on the spot; immediately; without
delay or time of credit; as, to pay money on the nail.
``You shall have ten thousand pounds on the nail.''
--Beaconsfield.

To hit the nail on the head, to hit most effectively; to do
or say a thing in the right way.


Nail, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Nailed; p. pr. & vb. n.
Nailing.] [AS. n[ae]glian. See Nail, n.]
1. To fasten with a nail or nails; to close up or secure by
means of nails; as, to nail boards to the beams.

He is now dead, and nailed in his chest. --Chaucer.

2. To stud or boss with nails, or as with nails.

The rivets of your arms were nailed with gold.
--Dryden.

3. To fasten, as with a nail; to bind or hold, as to a
bargain or to acquiescence in an argument or assertion;
hence, to catch; to trap.

When they came to talk of places in town, you saw at
once how I nailed them. --Goldsmith.

4. To spike, as a cannon. [Obs.] --Crabb.

To nail a lie or an assertion, etc., to detect and expose
it, so as to put a stop to its currency; -- an expression
probably derived from the former practice of shopkeepers,
who were accustomed to nail bad or counterfeit pieces of
money to the counter.

Synonyms: ace, apprehend, arrest, blast, boom, breeze through, collar, complete, cop, nab, nail down, pass with flying colors, peg, pick up, pinpoint, sail through, smash, sweep through

See Also: attach, brad, clout, clout nail, clutch, come through, dactyl, digit, doornail, eightpenny nail, fastener, fastening, fingernail, fixing, fourpenny nail, half-moon, head, hit, hobnail, holdfast, horny structure, integumentary system, linear unit, locate, lunula, lunule, make it, matrix, nail down, nailhead, narrow, narrow down, pass, peg down, pin down, play, prehend, seize, shank, sixpenny nail, specify, spike, staple, stem, stub nail, succeed, tack, tenpenny nail, toenail, turn up, unguis, win

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