fingernail

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bite (one's) nails

1. Literally, to chew on one's fingernails and shorten them. I wish I didn't bite my nails, but it's been such a hard habit to try to break. My sister gets regular manicures to keep from biting her nails.
2. To nervously await something. I've been biting my nails ever since I submitted my application for my first-choice college.
See also: bite, nail

cling on by (one's) fingernails

1. Literally, to grasp something, such as a cliff, with one's fingernails to avoid falling. The stranded hiker was clinging on by her fingernails until the rescue crew arrived.
2. By extension, to narrowly avoid problems or failure. They're clinging on by their fingernails out there—the other team's offensive is totally overwhelming them. Now that I have three small children to care for, I feel as if I'm clinging on by my fingernails every day.
See also: by, cling, fingernail, on

hang on by (one's) fingernails

1. Literally, to grasp something, such as a cliff, with one's fingernails to avoid falling. The stranded hiker was hanging on by her fingernails until the rescue crew arrived.
2. By extension, to narrowly avoid problems or failure. They're hanging on by their fingernails out there—the other team's offensive is totally overwhelming them. Now that I have three small children to care for, I feel as if I'm hanging on by my fingernails every day.
See also: by, fingernail, hang, on

be hanging on by your fingertips

or

be hanging on by your fingernails

If you are hanging on by your fingertips or hanging on by your fingernails, you are only just managing to survive or to stay in the position you want. There are firms already hanging on by their fingertips who will not be able to take these extra costs. Real Madrid's poor start to the season has left coach Benito Floro hanging on to his job by his fingernails. Note: The verb cling is sometimes used instead of hang. The minister is said to be clinging on by his fingernails since the scandal. Note: You can also say that someone has a fingertip hold on something. A Bolton own goal early in the second half gave Liverpool the fingertip hold they needed to retain their grasp of the FA Cup.
See also: by, fingertip, hanging, on

bite your ˈnails/ˈfingernails

feel very excited, nervous, or afraid ▶ ˈnail-biting adj. very exciting or tense: What an exciting movie that was — real nail-biting stuff!
See also: bite, fingernail, nail
References in periodicals archive ?
The ClipDifferent "game changer" fingernail clipper is a finalist for the 2019 Edison Awards Consumer Goods, Self Care category.
If you have recurrent ingrown fingernails, your physician may recommend some form of surgical removal.
Chillal's longest single nail was his thumbnail, measuring 197.8 centimeters, while the measurement of his index fingernails was 164.5 cm, middle fingernails was 186.6 cm, ring fingernails was 181.6 cm and little fingernails was 179.1 cm.
Chillal's fingernail exhibit will be officially unveiled at Ripley's Believe It or Not!
By the third day, the color green was painted on the fingernail of the ring finger (Italy crushed Indonesia 19-5 but lost to the Czech Republic 21-20) to signify making the quarterfinals.'
This study found of the 200 cases with clinical onychomycosis, fingernails were affected in 120 (60%), toenails in 72 (36%), and both fingernails and toenails in 8 (4%) cases.
This was a retrospective study of 77 patients with accidental fingernail injury of cornea from May 2014 to April 2015 in Alquwayiah General Hospital, Riyadh Region, KSA.
Fingernails can be set in diamonds and other precious stones and those with individual designs often sell for many thousands of pounds.
Q Sometimes I notice that my fingernails and the skin on my fingertips have a bluish tint.
Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro, who painted her fingernails in the colours of the rainbow flag in support of Russia's gay community, has been told not to repeat the gesture in Saturday's world championship final.
When I said that would not happen she went on about blood in her fingernails and how it took her ages to get it out."
Seventeen-year-old Samantha Reaves sports bright pink fingernails. But underneath the polish, you may find grimy traces--grease, oil, diesel--of the nontraditional career she is pursuing at the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), a career she has chosen in an industry dominated by men.
BRITAIN'S got talons judging by how much women blow on their fingernails each year.
Two maids in Fujairah stand accused of putting the health of their boss and her daughter at risk by slipping urine, fingernails and eyelashes into their dinner.