from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A slim, pointed piece of metal hammered into material as a fastener.
  • n. A fingernail or toenail.
  • n. A claw or talon.
  • n. Something resembling a nail in shape, sharpness, or use.
  • n. A measure of length formerly used for cloth, equal to 1/16 yard (5.7 centimeters).
  • transitive v. To fasten, join, or attach with or as if with a nail.
  • transitive v. To cover, enclose, or shut by fastening with nails: nail up a window.
  • transitive v. To keep fixed, motionless, or intent: Fear nailed me to my seat.
  • transitive v. Slang To stop and seize; catch: Police nailed the suspect.
  • transitive v. Slang To detect and expose: nailed the senator in a lie; nail corruption before it gets out of control.
  • transitive v. Slang To strike or bring down: nail a bird in flight; nail a running back.
  • transitive v. Slang To perform successfully or have noteworthy success in: nailed the dive; nailed the exam.
  • transitive v. Baseball To put out (a base runner).
  • nail down To discover or establish conclusively: nailed down the story by checking all the facts.
  • nail down To win: nailed down another victory in the golf tournament.
  • nail down To specify or fix: We were finally able to nail down a meeting time.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The thin, horny plate at the ends of fingers and toes on humans and some other animals.
  • n. A spike-shaped metal fastener used for joining wood or similar materials. The nail is generally driven through two or more layers of material by means of impacts from a hammer or other device. It is then held in place by friction.
  • n. One of the four round pedestals (the nails) in Bristol, on which merchants once carried out their business.
  • n. An archaic English unit of length equivalent to 1/20th of an ell or 1/16th of a yard (2.25 inches or 5,715 cm).
  • v. To fix (an object) to another object using a nail.
  • v. To drive a nail.
  • v. To catch.
  • v. To expose as a sham.
  • v. To accomplish (a task) completely and successfully.
  • v. To hit (a target) effectively with some weapon.
  • v. Of a male, to engage in sexual intercourse with.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the horny scale of plate of epidermis at the end of the fingers and toes of man and many apes.
  • n.
  • n. The basal thickened portion of the anterior wings of certain hemiptera.
  • n. The terminal horny plate on the beak of ducks, and other allied birds.
  • n. A slender, pointed piece of metal, usually with a head{2}, used for fastening pieces of wood or other material together, by being driven into or through them.
  • n. A measure of length, being two inches and a quarter, or the sixteenth of a yard.
  • transitive v. To fasten with a nail or nails; to close up or secure by means of nails.
  • transitive v. To stud or boss with nails, or as with nails.
  • transitive v. 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.
  • transitive v. To spike, as a cannon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fix or fasten with a nail or with nails; drive nails into for the purpose of fastening or securing: often with a preposition and an object, or with an adverb, to denote the result: as, to nail up a box; to nail a shelf to the wall; to nail down the hatches; to nail a joist into place; to nail it back.
  • To stud with nails.
  • Figuratively, to pin down and hold fast; make secure: as, to nail a bargain.
  • To secure by a prompt action; catch.
  • To make certain; attest; confirm; clinch.
  • To trip up; detect and expose, as in an error.
  • To spike (a cannon).
  • Nautical, to spoil; frustrate the purpose of; make unlucky: as, to nail the trip (that is, spoil the voyage).
  • n. A thin, flat, blunt layer of horn growing on the upper side of the end of a finger or toe.
  • n. In entomology, the uncus.
  • n. In ornithology, the hard horny end of the bill of any lamellirostral bird, as a duck or goose.
  • n. The callosity on the inner side of a horse's leg near the knee or the hock.
  • n. A pin or slender piece of metal used for driving through or into wood or other material for the purpose of holding separate pieces together, or left projecting that things may be hung on it.
  • n. A stud or boss; a short metallic pin with a broad head serving for ornament.
  • n. Same as shooting-needle.
  • n. A unit of English cloth-measure, 2¼ inches, or of a yard. Abbreviated n.
  • n. A weight of eight pounds: generally applied to articles of food.
  • n. A straight stamping-tool.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. attach something somewhere by means of nails
  • n. a former unit of length for cloth equal to 1/16 of a yard
  • v. succeed in obtaining a position
  • v. hit hard
  • n. horny plate covering and protecting part of the dorsal surface of the digits
  • n. a thin pointed piece of metal that is hammered into materials as a fastener
  • v. locate exactly
  • v. complete a pass
  • v. take into custody
  • v. succeed at easily


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English nægl, fingernail, toenail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English næġel, from Proto-Germanic *naglaz (compare Dutch/German/Swedish nagel), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃nogʰ- (“nail”) (compare Irish ionga, Latin unguis, Albanian nyell ("ankle, hard part of a limb"), Lithuanian nagas, Russian nogá ("foot, leg"), ноготь (nogoti, "nail"), Ancient Greek ὄνυξ (ónyx), Sanskrit nakhá).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English næġlan



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  • Just missed this on a crossword, where the clue was "A digital plate"!

    December 28, 2013

  • Stab nail at ill Italian bats.

    October 18, 2008

  • An old unit of measure equaling 2.25 inches.

    November 7, 2007