ldoce_229_dnailnail1 /neɪl/ ●●●S3 noun [countable]1TDa thinpointed 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 onThe key was hanging on a nail by the door.hammer/bang/hit a nail into somethingShe hammered a nail into the wall.2HBHyour nails are the hard smoothlayers on the ends of your fingers and toesI’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 headat 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.
nailnail2 verb [transitive]1[always + adverb/preposition]TATTACH to fasten something to something else with nailsnail something to somethingA sign saying ‘No Fishing’ had been nailed to the tree.nail something downThe lid was firmly nailed down.nail something up (=permanently close a window or door by fixing something across it using nails)The windows had been nailed up.2informalSCPCATCH to catch someone and prove that they are guilty of a crime or something badIt took us 10 years to nail the guy who killed our daughter.nail somebody for somethingThe state police finally nailed him for fraud.3informal if you nail something, you succeed in getting it, after a lot of time or effortShe finally nailed her dream job.4informal to do something perfectly, especially when singing or performingI thought that song might be too big for you, but you absolutely nailed it!5 →nail a lie/myth6 →nail your colours to the mast7 →nail somebody to the wall/cross →nail somebody/something ↔ down→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
nail• Boitano nailed a superbtriple axel jump.• For their sins, they were both nailed and all but crucified on the reef.• I got a hammer and nailed down the floorboards.• Myers was nailed for sellingmarijuana.• The windows had been nailedshut.• Landry said his radargun had nailed Soares going 82 m. p. h. on I-93.• Police use radar to nailspeedingdrivers.• We watched as Dad nailed the fencepanels together.• Someone nailed the kitchen cabinets shut.• So how did we nail the opportunist without resorting to high-levelwarfare?• She nails the quips and finds extralaughs between the lines.• The desks in all the classrooms were nailed to the floor.• These need to be screwed or nailed to the floorboards below.• A large Americanflag is nailed to the wall above the bed.• The door to the servants' quarters in the attics had been nailed up.nail something to something• A letter of protest had been nailed to the post.nail somebody for something• Williams was nailed forburglary.From Longman Business Dictionarynailnail1 /neɪl/ verb [transitive]informal to catch someone and prove that they are guilty of a crime or of doing something badThe government spent vast resources in an unsuccessful effort to nail him on felony charges. →nail down→ See Verb tablenailnail2 nounon the nail British English informal if you pay for something on the nail, you pay for it immediatelyNot paying on the nail could be extremely expensive.