nail down

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Related to nail down: take place, bygones

nail (someone) down (on something)

To establish or determine some specific details or information (about something) with someone. I'd like to nail them down on the dates so I can start looking at ticket prices for flights. Has anyone been able to nail the janitor down on the cause of the electrical failures?
See also: down, nail

nail down

1. Literally, to use nails as a means of securing something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "nail" and "down." Remember to nail the tarp down, or it will get blown away when the storm hits! I've been meaning to nail down this loose step before someone falls over it.
2. To establish or determine something with specificity. A noun or pronoun can be used between "nail" and "down." I'd like to nail down the dates we want to fly so I can start looking at ticket prices. I think we've nailed down the cause of the electrical failures. It seems like you're struggling to nail down what your essay is really trying to say.
3. To force someone to give a firm or unambiguous commitment (about or to do something). A noun or pronoun can be used between "nail" and "down." I've been trying to nail down the boss on when we could expect the bonuses to be paid out. The reporter kept trying to nail her down, but the senator refused to clarify her position on the issue.
4. To catch or apprehend someone, especially a criminal. A noun or pronoun can be used between "nail" and "down." Police have been trying to nail down the killer for weeks. We've finally got enough hard evidence to nail this scumbag down for good!
See also: down, nail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

nail someone down

(on something) Go to pin someone down (on something).
See also: down, nail

nail something down

1. to secure something down by nailing it. Please nail the floorboard down or someone will trip over it. I'll nail down these floorboards.
2. Go to pin something down.
See also: down, nail
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

nail down

Establish conclusively, as in The reporter nailed down the story by checking all the facts. This metaphoric expression alludes to fixing or fastening something down with nails. [c. 1600]
See also: down, nail
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

nail down

1. To secure something or make it unable to move by driving nails through it and into another object: On the passenger ship, the workers nailed the tables down so that they wouldn't slide around during the storm. We examined the deck and nailed down all loose boards.
2. To specify or fix something: After months of evading the question, the candidate finally nailed down her position on the war. We can't release the schedule until we've nailed it down.
3. To discover or establish something conclusively: The reporter nailed down the story by checking all the facts. We looked for the source of the problem but couldn't nail it down.
4. To win something decisively: She nailed down her sixth win of the season with a birdie on the 18th hole. We nailed the top spot down by defeating the two best teams in the league.
See also: down, nail
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Sanchez was soon sent packing, Davis shipped out to Rangers, Healy struggled to nail down a place and Baird became a target of the boo-boys.
Rhondda product Bishop is hoping to nail down one of the two centre berths in the starting line-up for Saturday's match against Australia in Cardiff.
But he knows there is no better chance to nail down the position long term than to perform well against O'Driscoll.
The basic fact is this: the trilateral Joint Working Group of Pakistan, India and Iran, which will have to nail down the specifics of any agreement, has met six times over the years.
"It took me four months to nail down a deal for Freddy, but we're delighted to have him," Coleman said.
If the sub-floor is wooden floorboards, bang down any protruding nails and screw rather than nail down any loose boards.
The exact origins of particular observances and festivals, though, are a little harder to nail down.
DAVID MOYES may not have been able to nail down the transfer targets he most desired, so he has gone for a short term option with the loan signing of Mikel Arteta until the end of the season.
Exploring the relationship between flat ground and animated "figure," Ryman suggests that space is unfixed, impossible to nail down. The result is wonderfully uncanny, all the more so because of the almost reckless casualness of Ryman's hand, which moves with lyric uncertainty over the surface of the paper, marking it to give meaning but with no certainty of what that meaning might be.
The result is that jurors aren't convinced even by the kind of eyewitness testimony that used to nail down convictions.
The aim is to nail down the identity and properties of this new entity.
A time when lenders must set up an instantaneous pre-approval system to nail down the loan before anyone else does," says Politis.
Some dancers live with a partially torn nail by avoiding pointe for a few days and thereafter taping the loose nail down with a Band-Aid (only the non-sticky part should touch the nail, please) until a new nail plate forms underneath, which often takes at least three months.
CHRIS O'HARE last night urged UK Athletics chiefs to send him to the World Championships despite blowing the chance to nail down his spot by coming 10th at the Anniversary Games in London.
Now he wants to finally nail down a shot at Alexander at the fourth time of asking following three postponed match-ups.