Definition of nail verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    nail

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//neɪl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//neɪl//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they nail
    BrE BrE//neɪl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//neɪl//
     
    he / she / it nails
    BrE BrE//neɪlz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//neɪlz//
     
    past simple nailed
    BrE BrE//neɪld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//neɪld//
     
    past participle nailed
    BrE BrE//neɪld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//neɪld//
     
    -ing form nailing
    BrE BrE//ˈneɪlɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈneɪlɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1nail something (+ adv./prep./adj.) to fasten something to something with a nail or nails I nailed the sign to a tree. Wooden boards had been nailed across the windows. The shutters had been nailed shut. There’s no need to nail the wood down.
  2. 2nail somebody (informal) to catch somebody and prove they are guilty of a crime or of doing something bad The police haven't been able to nail the killer.
  3. 3nail something (informal) to prove that something is not true We must nail this lie.
  4. 4nail something (informal) to achieve something or do something right, especially in sport He nailed a victory in the semi-finals. She nailed it on her second jump.
  5. Word Origin Old English nægel (noun), næglan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch nagel and German Nagel, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin unguis and Greek onux.Idioms
    nail your colours to the mast
     
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    (especially British English) to say publicly and firmly what you believe or who you support
    Phrasal Verbsnail somethingdownnail somebodydown (to something)nail somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: nail