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What is the etymology of hangnail?
Hangnail is odd because it is not the nail that is hanging, but a piece of cuticle (diminutive of Latin cutis 'the skin'). The word was originally agnail, an Anglo-Saxon word for a corn on the toe (c. 950), which came from ang 'painful' and naegl 'nail, peg' and was created most likely because a corn resembled the head of a nail. The resemblance of ang to hang created an instance of folk etymology wherein the beginning of the word was changed - as was the location of the condition, which moved from the foot to the finger. Hangnail is noted as being in print in 1678.