hang nail


a small piece of partly detached skin at the side or base of the fingernail.
Compare whitlow.

1300–50; Middle English angenayle corn, Old English angnægl, equivalent to ang- (variant of enge narrow, painful; cognate with German eng, see anger) + nægl callus, nail; modern h- by association with hang

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World English Dictionary
hangnail (ˈhæŋˌneɪl)
a piece of skin torn away from, but still attached to, the base or side of a fingernail
[C17: from Old English angnægl, from enge tight + næglnail; influenced by hang]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1678, probably folk etymology from O.E. agnail "a corn on the foot," from PIE *angh- "tight, painfully constricted, painful."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

hangnail hang·nail (hāng'nāl')
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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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