To hit the nail on the head
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:

  • hit the nail on the head — to be right about something. Mike hit the nail on the head when he said most people can use a computer without knowing how it works …   New idioms dictionary

  • hit the nail on the head — phrasal : to perform effectively or be effective : be exactly right * * * hit the nail on the head see under ↑nail • • • Main Entry: ↑hit hit the nail on the head To touch the exact point • • • Main Entry: ↑nail * * * hit the nail on the head …   Useful english dictionary

  • hit the nail on the head — verb To identify something exactly; to arrive at exactly the right answer. He hit the nail on the head when he said the problem was the thermostat …   Wiktionary

  • hit the nail on the head — {v. phr.} To get something exactly right; speak or act in the most fitting or effective way. * /The mayor s talk on race relations hit the nail on the head./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • hit the nail on the head — {v. phr.} To get something exactly right; speak or act in the most fitting or effective way. * /The mayor s talk on race relations hit the nail on the head./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • hit\ the\ nail\ on\ the\ head — v. phr. To get something exactly right; speak or act in the most fitting or effective way. The mayor s talk on race relations hit the nail on the head …   Словарь американских идиом

  • hit the nail on the head — to say something that is exactly right or completely true With regard to the gentleman s comments, I think he has hit the nail right on the head …   English dictionary

  • hit the nail on the head — idi to say or do exactly the right thing …   From formal English to slang

  • hit the nail on the head — phrasal to be exactly right …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hit the nail on the head (to) —  Be exactly right …   American business jargon

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