Definition of hangnail in English:



  • A piece of torn skin at the root of a fingernail.

    • ‘I'm not going to miss players barely running out fly balls and sitting out games over hangnails.’
    • ‘I got a hangnail, this is gonna distract me the entire fight, I'm gonna sit this one out.’
    • ‘Colleen, on the other hand, hunching like a sloth, wearily dragged herself up after them, continuing to bite her hangnails.’
    • ‘That's a nasty hangnail you've got there, Bremer.’
    • ‘Thanks to the law, the millions who might divorce every year over hangnails, custody of the remote, who left the toilet seat up and other inconsequential differences of opinion, will come to their senses.’
    • ‘She chews her hangnails and preoccupies herself with finding a place for her purse.’
    • ‘Topping my list is the Apricot Cuticle Oil, which tackles even the toughest hangnails and ragged cuticles.’
    • ‘Let's start with the ‘finger sandwiches’ description: the crusts were not always neatly removed and you could only describe them as finger sandwiches if your fingers were the size of jumbo sausages with very large hangnails.’
    • ‘Lawyers will ask courts for dispensation for their athletes/clients who suffer from hangovers, hangnails, imperfectly ground prescription glasses, bad cholesterol.’
    • ‘If hangnails are present, carefully clip them.’
    • ‘I saw that I had torn the hangnail right off my finger without even noticing.’
    • ‘By all means tend to her hangnails, lovingly soothe her with a pumice, scent her skin with peach and coconut and rose petals - but only for the duration of the affair.’
    • ‘You won't be covering your ears from the lack of pleasantries coming out of the speaker, but if you get busy picking at a pesky hangnail, you won't even notice that Desmond is on.’
    • ‘Legally, they make them sign deals saying don't come to me for a hangnail.’
    • ‘Every little dent in the rickety vehicle was a tiny book in itself, and made one feel very much like a parent of a child, knowing every thing about them from missing teeth to hangnails.’
    • ‘Not a bad way to relax, although if you have any cuts or scrapes or hangnails on you, they can really sting when you get in.’
    • ‘Tory found it was harder to keep calm if she was looking at Nell, and pretended to study a hangnail on her ring finger.’
    • ‘Children who bite their fingernails or pick at hangnails are more likely to get warts.’
    • ‘If Bertuzzi were to be sued, every player who got a sliver or a hangnail because of an infraction, would be out for some money.’
    • ‘Keep the skin around your nails soft and supple and you won't get hangnails.’


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