Phrasal verbs with “nail” in English

NAIL DOWN Phrasal Verb

What does “nail” mean?

Learning English is not just about grammar and new words, but also involves studying phrasal verbs. Today, we will look at phrasal verbs with the word “nail” [neɪl]. Before moving on to them, let’s clarify what the word “nail” means in English. The word “nail” has several meanings depending on the context. As a noun, “nail” refers to a small, thin piece of metal with a sharp point and flat head, used for joining or fastening things together. As part of the body, “nail” indicates the hard, smooth area covering the upper end of each finger or toe. If interpreting it as a verb “to nail”, it also has several meanings. It can mean to fasten or hammer something with nails, to catch someone in the act of committing a crime, especially if they are doing something wrong, or to successfully accomplish something. In addition to its literal meaning, “nail” is used in idiomatic phrases:

  • “Hit the nail on the head” means to identify a problem or describe something precisely.
  • “Tough as nails” describes a person who is extremely strong or resilient.

These idioms underscore the figurative meanings of the word “nail” and showcase its versatility. Now, let’s move on to the phrasal verbs with “nail”.

Important phrasal verbs with “nail”

Nail down

  • Meaning: To determine or finalize something with certainty.
  • Example: “We need to nail down the details of the contract before signing.”
  • Meaning: To firmly establish or confirm something.
  • Example: “We need to nail down the time and location for the meeting.”
  • Meaning: To specify or define something precisely.
  • Example: “We need to nail down the budget for the project.”
  • Meaning: To achieve or succeed in something.
  • Example: “After months of practice, she finally nailed down her guitar solo.”
  • Meaning: To confirm or secure an agreement or decision.
  • Example: “The negotiators worked hard to nail down the terms of the contract.”
  • Meaning: Understand fully.
  • Example: “I can’t nail down what’s wrong with their idea, but I’m sure it won’t work.”
  • Meaning: Get full information from someone.
  • Example: “I can’t nail them down about when they’re going to finish the project.”

Nail up

  • Meaning: To close or fasten something with nails.
  • Example: “He nailed up the window shutters before the storm.”

Nail in

  • Meaning: To emphasize or reinforce a point.
  • Example: “The professor nailed in the importance of citing sources in academic writing.”
  • Meaning: To insert a nail into something.
  • Example: “He nailed in the loose floorboard to prevent tripping.”
  • Meaning: To confirm or secure a victory or success.
  • Example: “With that last-minute goal, they nailed in the win for the team.”

Nail something/someone

  • Meaning: To catch or apprehend someone, especially in a legal context.
  • Example: “The police finally nailed the thief after weeks of investigation.”

Nail it

  • Meaning: To perform something successfully or with precision.
  • Example: “He had been practicing his speech for weeks, and when the time came to present, he absolutely nailed it.”

Nail on

  • Meaning: To precisely identify or describe something.
  • Example: “Her criticism of the proposal was right on the nail.”
  • Meaning: To accurately or accurately perform or guess something.
  • Example: “She nailed the presentation on, impressing everyone in the room.”

Nail through

  • Meaning: To affix something firmly with nails passing through it.
  • Example: “He nailed the poster through the wooden board.”


  • Meaning: To be very anxious or nervous about something.
  • Example: “The final moments of the game were nail-biting as both teams were tied.”

Nail shut

  • Meaning: To seal something tightly using nails.
  • Example: “The carpenter nailed shut the old door to prevent it from opening.”

Nail into

  • Meaning: To drive a nail into something.
  • Example: “He carefully nailed the picture into the wall.”

Nail together

  • Meaning: To fasten two or more things together using nails.
  • Example: “He nailed together the pieces of wood to build a shelf.”

Nail off

  • Meaning: To mark or indicate the end of something.
  • Example: “She nailed off the last task on her to-do list before leaving.”

Phrasal verbs with the word “nail” in English are used to describe a variety of situations, including fixing something with nails, identifying details accurately, or successfully completing a task.

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