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



    BrE BrE//neɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//neɪl//
    Hands and nails
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  1. 1   thin hard layer covering the outer tip of the fingers or toes Stop biting your nails! nail clippers see also fingernail, toenail See related entries: Hands and nails
  2. 2  a small thin pointed piece of metal with a flat head, used for hanging things on a wall or for joining pieces of wood together She hammered the nail in. CollocationsDecorating and home improvementHouses refurbish/​renovate/ (British English) do up a building/​a house convert a building/​house/​room into homes/​offices/(especially North American English) apartments/(British English) flats extend/​enlarge a house/​building/​room/​kitchen build (British English) an extension (to the back/​rear of a house)/(North American English) an addition (on/​to something)/(British English) a conservatory knock down/​demolish a house/​home/​building/​wall knock out/​through the wall separating two roomsDecoration furnish/​paint/ (especially British English) decorate a home/​house/​apartment/​flat/​room be decorated in bright colours/(especially US English) colors/​in a traditional style/​with flowers/​with paintings paint/​plaster the walls/​ceiling hang/​put up/​strip off/​remove the wallpaper install/​replace/​remove the bathroom fixtures/(British English) fittings build/​put up shelves lay wooden flooring/​timber decking/​floor tiles/​a carpet/​a patio put up/​hang/​take down a picture/​painting/​poster/​curtainDIY/​home improvement do (British English) DIY/​carpentry/​the plumbing/​the wiring make home improvements add/​install central heating/​underfloor heating/​insulation fit/​install double-glazing/​a smoke alarm insulate your house/​your home/​the walls/​the pipes/​the tanks/(especially British English) the loft fix/​repair a roof/​a leak/​a pipe/​the plumbing/​a leaking (especially British English) tap/(usually North American English) faucet block/​clog (up)/unblock/​unclog a pipe/​sink make/​drill/​fill a hole hammer (in)/pull out/​remove a nail tighten/​untighten/​loosen/​remove a screw saw/​cut/​treat/​stain/​varnish/​paint wood compare screw, tack
  3. Word OriginOld 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.Extra examples He knocked the nail into the wall. He screamed as she dug her nails into his shoulders. I tapped my nails against the glass. I was trying to grow my nails. I wore acrylic nails for two months. She inspected her nails casually. There was dirt under his nails.Idioms to fight in a very determined way for what you want The residents are fighting tooth and nail to stop the new development. showing no sympathy, kindness or fear
    hit the nail on the head
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    to say something that is exactly right
    a nail in somebody’s/something’s coffin
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    something that makes the end or failure of an organization, somebody’s plans, etc. more likely to happen This latest defeat is another nail in the government's coffin.
    (British English, informal) (of payment) without delay They're good customers who always pay on the nail.
      (as) tough as old boots, (as) tough as nails (informal)
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    1. 1very strong and able to deal successfully with difficult conditions or situations She’s almost 90 but she’s still as tough as old boots.
    2. 2not feeling or showing any emotion More Like ThisSimiles in idioms (as) bald as a coot, (as) blind as a bat, (as) bright as a button, (as) bold as brass, as busy as a bee, as clean as a whistle, (as) dead as a/​the dodo, (as) deaf as a post, (as) dull as ditchwater, (as) fit as a fiddle, as flat as a pancake, (as) good as gold, (as) mad as a hatter/​a March hare, (as) miserable/​ugly as sin, as old as the hills, (as) pleased as Punch, as pretty as a picture, (as) regular as clockwork, (as) quick as a flash, (as) safe as houses, (as) sound as a bell, (as) steady as a rock, (as) thick as two short planks, (as) tough as old bootsSee worksheet.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: nail