bite (one's) nails

(redirected from biting one's nails)

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 ?
But overall, he is clear, his pacing is good, and he maintains the suspense that has one biting one's nails toward the end.
In addition to repeating and, in some instances, elaborating on Chesterfield's warnings against shivering; scratching oneself; fingering one's mouth, nose or ears; snapping one's fingers; rubbing one's hands; drumming the table; biting one's nails; spitting; excessive nose-blowing; and playing with one's fingers, feet, clothing, or small objects; writers for the middling sort added warnings against throwing one's arms about; tapping one's feet; tossing one's head; and excessive coughing, sneezing, or yawning.