Definition of nail something down in English:

nail something down

phrasal verb

  • 1Identify something precisely.

    ‘something seems unexpected—I can't nail it down, but it makes me uneasy’
    • ‘And because it's of course in our backyard - we're based down here - we had some very good sources and we were able to nail this story down.’
    • ‘So it's very, very difficult to nail it down as to who put the information out.’
    • ‘And so unexceptional, so mundane is the process that it took researchers over 20 years of observing parents and children together to nail it down.’
    • ‘He even recently diagnosed a problem all on his own, nailing it down to one of three things.’
    • ‘I'll keep thinking about it and see if I can nail it down a little more precisely.’
    • ‘Now was the time to find out for sure and nail it down.’
    • ‘If you are interested, here's one group's attempt to nail it down.’
    • ‘Sometimes you can put a piece together quickly, and sometimes you just have to wait until your sources nail it down for you.’
    • ‘I don't think it's important for me to nail the reason down.’
    • ‘But the story by now has become a rollercoaster, and I am an agnostic until someone nails it down.’
  • 2Secure an agreement.

    ‘the company has finally nailed down the agreement with its distributors’
    • ‘He has had opportunities to win the job but hasn't come close to nailing it down.’
    • ‘True conservatives no doubt will rationalize this away with thoughts of what they will do to the dreaded welfare state once the partisan realignment has been nailed down.’
    • ‘They strive to nail these issues down early, and make sure that the marketing dude understands the impact of late decisions, and sees the value of the design ideas.’
    • ‘Until common standards, definitions and interpretations are nailed down and agreed, participants in future talks may as well be speaking two different languages.’
    • ‘‘We spent the summer going over the language until we nailed it down,’ he says.’
    • ‘That's the great danger that nothing about this handover has been nailed down, nothing that - you can't say the ink has not dried yet - the document hasn't been written yet.’