On the nail
Nail Nail (n[=a]l), n. [AS. n[ae]gel, akin to D. nagel, OS. & OHG. nagal, G. nagel, Icel. nagl, nail (in sense 1), nagli nail (in sense 3), Sw. nagel nail (in senses 1 and 3), Dan. nagle, Goth. ganagljan to nail, Lith. nagas nail (in sense 1), Russ. nogote, L. unguis, Gr. "o`nyx, Skr. nakha. [root]259.] 1. (Anat.) the horny scale of plate of epidermis at the end of the fingers and toes of man and many apes. [1913 Webster]

His nayles like a briddes claws were. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Note: The nails are strictly homologous with hoofs and claws. When compressed, curved, and pointed, they are called {talons} or {claws}, and the animal bearing them is said to be unguiculate; when they incase the extremities of the digits they are called hoofs, and the animal is ungulate. [1913 Webster]

2. (Zo["o]l.) (a) The basal thickened portion of the anterior wings of certain hemiptera. (b) The terminal horny plate on the beak of ducks, and other allied birds. [1913 Webster]

3. A slender, pointed piece of metal, usually with a head[2], used for fastening pieces of wood or other material together, by being driven into or through them. [1913 Webster]

Note: The different sorts of nails are named either from the use to which they are applied, from their shape, from their size, or from some other characteristic, as shingle, floor, ship-carpenters', and horseshoe nails, roseheads, diamonds, fourpenny, tenpenny (see {Penny}, a.), chiselpointed, cut, wrought, or wire nails, etc. [1913 Webster]

4. A measure of length, being two inches and a quarter, or the sixteenth of a yard. [1913 Webster]

{Nail ball} (Ordnance), a round projectile with an iron bolt protruding to prevent it from turning in the gun.

{Nail plate}, iron in plates from which cut nails are made.

{On the nail}, in hand; on the spot; immediately; without delay or time of credit; as, to pay money on the nail; to pay cash on the nail. ``You shall have ten thousand pounds on the nail.'' --Beaconsfield.

{To hit the nail on the head}, (a) to hit most effectively; to do or say a thing in the right way. (b) to describe the most important factor. [1913 Webster +PJC]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • on the nail — UK INFORMAL ► at exactly the right time: »Some credit cards are offering loyalty bonuses to customers who pay on the nail . Main Entry: ↑nail …   Financial and business terms

  • on the nail — ► on the nail (of payment) without delay. Main Entry: ↑nail …   English terms dictionary

  • on the nail — IMMEDIATELY, at once, without delay, straight away, right away, promptly, directly, now, this minute; N. Amer. on the barrelhead. → nail * * * Brit. (of payment) without delay * * * on the ˈnail idiom (BrE, informal) (of payment …   Useful english dictionary

  • on the nail — British & Australian if you pay an amount of money on the nail, you pay all of it immediately. He always paid cash, on the nail …   New idioms dictionary

  • on the nail — 1) British informal if you pay on the nail, you pay immediately 2) mainly American informal correct Her comments about their relationship were right on the nail …   English dictionary

  • on the nail — adverb immediately, without delay Tell me, have you a mind to anything in the Doctors book? Speak the word, and I will help you to it upon the nail. Thomas Nashe, Have With You To Saffron Walden (1596) …   Wiktionary

  • on the nail (N. Amer. also on the barrelhead) — (of payment) without delay. → nail …   English new terms dictionary

  • pay on the nail — If you pay on the nail, you pay promptly in cash …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • cash on the nail — phrasal or cash on the barrelhead : cash 2b my price is 10 dollars cash on the nail …   Useful english dictionary

  • pay on the nail —    If you pay on the nail, you pay promptly in cash.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

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