Definition of nail something down in English:

nail something down

phrasal verb

  • 1Fasten something securely with nails.

    ‘Solutions to this petty thievery include nailing things down, making the waitstaff responsible for keeping an eye on items, and sometimes just not using the top of the line accoutrements anymore.’
    • ‘To help keep tips curved up, some skiers attached a wire to the tip and stretched it taut, nailing it down to a point lower on the ski.’
    • ‘Once you have nailed things down pretty well, I recommend using the third method, explained below.’
    • ‘They placed a plywood sheet over the emptiness in the wall and nailed it down.’
    • ‘The cuff is high so if you want to do a perfect topside then you really have to nail it down.’
    • ‘It was true that she was no good with her hands, but she liked passing the planks up to Martin who would in turn pass them to Em, or nail them down.’
    • ‘Its front and back doors were fortified with locks and bolts and an eight-foot piece of wood and its windows were nailed down.’
  • 2Identify something precisely.

    ‘something seems unexpected—I can't nail it down, but it makes me uneasy’
    • ‘I'll keep thinking about it and see if I can nail it down a little more precisely.’
    • ‘But the story by now has become a rollercoaster, and I am an agnostic until someone nails it down.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So it's very, very difficult to nail it down as to who put the information out.’
    • ‘He even recently diagnosed a problem all on his own, nailing it down to one of three things.’
    • ‘I don't think it's important for me to nail the reason down.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now was the time to find out for sure and nail it down.’
  • 3Secure something, especially 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.’
    • ‘Until common standards, definitions and interpretations are nailed down and agreed, participants in future talks may as well be speaking two different languages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘We spent the summer going over the language until we nailed it down,’ he says.’