on the nail


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Related to on the nail: pay on the nail

on the nail

Immediately, promptly, or without delay; on the spot. I could put the bill on my credit card, but if it's all right with you I'd rather we divvy it up here and pay on the nail. After a few bad experiences with lodgers, I've learned to demand cash on the nail for the rent every Sunday, no exceptions.
See also: nail, on

hit the nail (right) on the head

 
1. Lit. to strike a nail precisely on the head with a hammer. If you expect to drive a nail straight, you have to hit the nail on the head.
2. Fig. to do exactly the right thing; to do something in the most effective and efficient way. You've spotted the flaw, Sally. You hit the nail on the head. Bob doesn't say much, but every now and then he hits the nail right on the head.
See also: head, hit, nail, on

on the nail

1. Immediately, without delay, as in He paid us back on the nail. [c. 1600]
2. Under discussion or consideration, as in The subject of the budget deficit has been on the nail for some time. [Late 1800s] The precise allusion in these expressions has been lost. Neither has any connection to hit the nail on the head (see under hit the bull's-eye).
See also: nail, on

hit the nail on the head

If you hit the nail on the head, you describe a situation or problem exactly. Duncan Smith hit the nail on the head when he said that the Prime Minister promised so much and yet changed so little. I agree with Dr Carey in everything he says. I think he's hit the nail right on the head. Note: You can also say that someone hits something on the nail, meaning that they describe a situation or problem exactly. `It sounds as if he almost depended on you as much as you depended on him.' — `You just hit it on the nail.'
See also: head, hit, nail, on

on the nail

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
1. If you pay on the nail you pay for something immediately and in the form of notes and coins. She'd turn up to court to pay their fines, cash on the nail. She enjoyed collecting the lodgers' payments which she made sure were made on the nail. Note: The usual American expression is on the barrelhead.
2. If you talk about a particular time or amount on the nail, you mean that time or amount exactly. `When did Captain Schmidt come to see you?' — `Six o'clock, just about on the nail.' Note: This expression may refer to cylindrical counters called `nails' that were sometimes used by traders in the Middle Ages. When a price had been agreed, the money was placed on the nail, so that everyone could see that the correct amount was being paid.
See also: nail, on

hit the nail on the head

To be absolutely right.
See also: head, hit, nail, on