Share this entry

hangnail Line breaks: hang|nail
Pronunciation: /ˈhaŋneɪl/

Definition of hangnail in English:


A piece of torn skin at the root of a fingernail.
Example sentences
  • Children who bite their fingernails or pick at hangnails are more likely to get warts.
  • I saw that I had torn the hangnail right off my finger without even noticing.
  • Tory found it was harder to keep calm if she was looking at Nell, and pretended to study a hangnail on her ring finger.


Late 17th century: alteration of agnail 'painful swelling around a nail' (from Old English angnægl, denoting a corn on the toe), influenced by hang.

Words that rhyme with hangnail

treenail • hobnail

Definition of hangnail in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...