Other Word Forms of Hangnail
Origin of Hangnail
Corruption of agnail (literally “painful (anguished) nail”), by folk-etymological reanalysis as hang + nail; from Middle English agnail, from Old English angnæġl, from ang- (“tight/painful”) + næġl (“nail”). The first component, ang-, is cognate to anguish, anger, and angst, while næġl is the origin of nail.
Original sense of “loose strip of tissue”; the sense of “pointed corner of nail” is modern, and is connected with the reanalysis, due to stockings catching or “hanging” on the nail.
Alteration of agnail (influenced by hang)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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