Hangnail meaning

hăngnāl
Frequency:
A loose, narrow strip of nail tissue protruding from the side edge and anchored near the base of a fingernail or toenail.
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A pointed upper corner of the toenail (often created by improperly trimming by rounding the corner) that, as the nail grows, presses into the flesh or protrudes so that it may catch (“hang”) on stockings or shoes.
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A small piece of dead skin at the side or the base of a fingernail that is partly detached from the rest of the skin.
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A bit of torn skin hanging at the side or base of a fingernail.
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A small piece of dead skin at the side or the base of a fingernail that is partly detached from the rest of the skin.
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Origin of hangnail

  • Alteration of agnail (influenced by hang)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • 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.

    From Wiktionary

  • 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.

    From Wiktionary