From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishldoce_229_dnailnail1 /neɪl/ ●●● S3 noun [countable] 1 TDa thin pointed piece of metal with a flat top, which you hit into a surface with a hammer, for example to join things together or to hang something on The key was hanging on a nail by the door.hammer/bang/hit a nail into something She hammered a nail into the wall.2 HBHyour nails are the hard smooth layers on the ends of your fingers and toes I’ve broken my nail. Stop biting your nails! She sat painting her nails
(=putting a coloured substance on them). He still had dirt under his nails. → fingernail, toenail3 → nail in somebody’s/something’s coffin4 → as hard/tough as nails5 → on the nail → hit the nail on the head at hit1(26)COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: your nails are the hard smooth layers on the ends of your fingers and toesadjectiveslongHer long nails were painted a pearly pink.shortHer nails were short and uneven.dirtyHow did you get such dirty nails?cleanHis nails were neat and clean.finger nail (also fingernail)She had small hands with polished finger nails.toe nail (also toenail)His toenails were long and dirty.verbscut your nailsYou should cut your nails more often!trim your nails (=cut a small amount off)His nails were neatly trimmed.file your nailsA girl was filing her nails on the bus.bite your nailsEddie bit his nails nervously.paint/polish/varnish your nails (=to put coloured liquid on your nails)Don't paint short nails in dark colours.manicure your nails (=to make your nails look attractive by cutting them and making the skin around them neat)She had manicured nails and expensive clothes.do your nails informal (=to cut or paint your nails)She sat at her desk, doing her nails.break a nail (=to accidentally damage a nail on one of your fingers)Oh, no, I've broken a nail.
Examples from the Corpusnail• His Dad kept it hanging on a nail in the shed and he'd have noticed right away if it was missing.• Nurse Duckett sat buffing her nails.• She came again, her body wracked with spasms, her nails tearing into his arms.• The deeply incised DE/ED made with a red-hot nail was visible for anyone to see.• I took something from the land and buildings, pieces of bottles and some nails.• Always use a base coat to even out the nail surface and to prevent dark polishes staining.• There will be skin and blood under the nails.• Police Minister Avigdor Kahalani said the explosives were pipe bombs packed with nails.broken ... nail• Every person born female eventually experiences the annoyance of a broken nail, the peculiar agony of a bad haircut.• She began to pick a broken nail on her left foot.• Her erratic gaze paused briefly on the broken nail she was picking with her other hand.• The moulded plastic capping prevents the broken nails which occur when changing belts on some sanders.