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Nail

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Down on the nail, Pay down on the nail. In ready money. In Latin: “Super unguem;” in French: “Sur lʹongle;” as, “Boire la goutte sur lʹongle” (see Supernaculum), “Payer rubis sur lʹongle,” where rubis means red wine. The Latin ungulus (from unguis) means a “shot” or reckoning, hence ungulum dare, to pay one’s reckoning.

“Quo quibus prisis, et cariagiis pleana flat solucio super unguem.”—An Indenture dated July 15th, 1326 (Scot’s Act)


⁂ OʹKeefe says: “In the centre of Limerick Exchange is a pillar with a circular plate of copper about three feet in diameter, called The Nail, on which the earnest of all stock-exchange bargains has to be paid.” (Recollections.)


A similar custom prevailed at Bristol, where were four pillars, called nails, in front of the Exchange for a similar purpose. In Liverpool Exchange there is a plate of copper called The Nail, on which bargains are settled.

Hung on the nail. Up the spout, put in pawn. The custom referred to is that of hanging each pawn on a nail, with a number attached, and giving the customer a duplicate thereof. Very similar to the custom of guarding hats, cloaks, walking-sticks, and umbrellas, in public exhibitions and assemblies.

To hit the nail on the head. To come to a right conclusion. In Latin, “Rem tenes.” The Germans have the exact phrase, “Den Nagel auf den kopf treffen.”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Nadab
Nadir
Nadir Shah
Nag
Nag, Nagging
Nag’s Head Consecration
Naga
Naglfar
Nahushtan
Naiads
Nail
Nail (For want of a)
Nail-money
Nail fixed in the Temple (of Jupiter)
Nail in One’s Coffin
Nail One’s Colours to the Mast (To)
Nailed
Nails driven into Cottage Walls
Nails of the Cross
Nain Rouge
Naivete (pron. nah-eve-ty)

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