American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


NAIL, noun If the word was originally applied to a claw or talon, the primary sense may be to catch, or it may be a shoot.

1. The claw or talon of a fowl or other animal.

2. The horny substance growing at the end of the human fingers and toes.

3. A small pointed piece of metal, usually with a head, to be driven into a board or other piece of timber, and serving to fasten it to other timber. The larger kinds of instruments of this sort are called spikes; and a long thin kind with a flattish head, is called a brad.

4. A stud or boss; a short nail with a large broad head.

5. A measure of length, being two inches and a quarter, or the 16th of a yard.

6. On the nail in hand; immediately; without delay or time of credit; as, to pay money on the nail

7. To hit the nail on the head, to hit or touch the exact point.

NAIL, verb transitive

1. To fasten with nails; to unite, close or make compact with nails.

2. To stud with nails.

3. To stop the vent of a cannon; to spike.