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 ?
Fingernail involvement was more common than toenail involvement.
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.
com)-- The Online Connection has recently launched the Clyppi Fingernail Clipper to online shoppers on Amazon.
After hearing the revelations, the employer and her daughter checked their food and found fingernails and eyelashes mixed in.
It turns out her body was producing 12 times the number of skin cells in each follicle and instead of hair it was human fingernails.
Sure, fingernails can be a blessing if you get an itch that needs scratching.
Still, after growing his fingernails for 15 years, Feng's longest one reaches an impressive 20.
Other bizarre new records include Christine Walton, 45, from Las Vegas, who has been revealed as the owner of the Longest Fingernails, measuring an astonishing 10ft 2ins (309.
BRETT Morse admitted his fingernails took a battering as he booked his place in the final of the discus at the World Athletics Championship.
Rich's tips for keeping fingernails healthy include:
65m (28ft 4in) nails since 1979, while Boothe's fingernails measure 9.
Jemma added: "Being a dental nurse I know all about good hygiene practices, and also know just what a breeding ground for bacteria fingernails are.
His fingers were bent and wrinkly, fingernails yellow and long.
A: Your fingernails start to grow in the nail root.
A dentist was yesterday erased from the register after using dental instruments to clean his fingernails and ears and urinating into a surgical sink.