bite (one's) nails

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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

bite one's nails

 
1. to use one's teeth to remove parts of one's fingernails as a means of shortening them. Stop biting your nails! Use clippers!
2. to literally bite one's nails from nervousness or anxiety; to be nervous or anxious. I spent all afternoon biting my nails, worrying about you. We've all been biting our nails from worry.
See also: bite, nail

bite one's nails

Exhibit signs of anxiety, impatience, or nervousness, as in We'll be biting our nails till the jury comes back. Biting one's fingernails is a time-honored sign of emotional tension. The Roman satirist Horace described it about 35 b.c.: "As he wrought his verse he would often ... gnaw his nails to the quick" ( Satires, Book 1).
See also: bite, nail

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 days of lounging around luxury hotels, biting nails and saying prayers have come to an end.
There is a school of thought which states that bruxism may be a learned behaviour used as a mechanism to cope with stress in childhood - a bit like biting nails.
It was kind of biting nails for a while there," said Dominguez, who watched the draft with his family at an uncle's house.
Andreas Loehrer said: "They lick until they wear a patch in their fur, like humans biting nails.
Many of the Wirral pupils and their parents will be biting nails and crossing fingers that they can go on to secure a grammar school education.
Parents and teachers separately assessed children's behaviour in areas such as restlessness, worrying, being alone, ability to make friends, obedience, stealing, sucking thumbs and biting nails, lying, bullying and skipping school.
As well as the usual help in stopping smoking and biting nails, John now assists others when it comes to conquering their fears and phobias, as well as giving support to people who are nervous about giving speeches and presentations or performing in public.
Wash fresh cuts well with cold running water or a wound wash, cover cuts with sticking plasters before gardening, check tetanus vaccinations are up to date, try to stop children sucking thumbs or fingers, or biting nails while in the garden.