Tooth and Nail: How to Use the Idiomatic Term “Tooth and Nail” Correctly?

Have you ever heard the term tooth and nail being used in an English conversation and wondered what the speaker was talking about? We are going to take a look at the meaning of this phrase as well as finding out where it first came from. We are also going to be looking at how the phrase can be used in a conversation by looking at some examples of this.

Tooth and Nail

Tooth and Nail Meaning

The meaning of the idiom tooth and nail refers to a situation in which someone fights hard.

Origin of this term

The term tooth and nail finds its origins in the late 1500s where the term was used to refer to combat in which scratching and biting were used.

“Tooth and Nail” Examples

Examples in Statements

You may often hear the use of the term tooth and nail, we are now going to take a look at some examples of sentences in which it might appear.

The first statement is being made in a news report.

  • The couple fought tooth and nail for the return of their children after the kidnapping.

The second statement is being made by a father to his son.

  • I will not let you lose your job, I will fight tooth and nail to make sure that never happens.

Conversation Examples

We are now going to take a look at some examples of conversations in which the term tooth and nail might be seen.

The first is a conversation which is taking place between two people who stand to lose their home.

  • Person 1; “We cannot let the landlord kick us out of our home.”
  • Person 2; “No, we can’t and we will fight tooth and nail if we have to.”

The next conversation is happening between two friends.

  • Person 1; “I reported the theft of my car to the police.”
  • Person 2; “What are they going to do about it?”
  • Person 1; “Well, they’ve promised they will fight tooth and nail to prosecute the person who did it.”

Other examples:

  • We fought tooth and nail to get the route of the new road changed.
  • The twins fight tooth and nail over the slightest disagreement.
  • He fought tooth and nail for 15 months before going to sleep one final night last week.
  • The people in this country fought tooth and nail to protect their common homeland.

Other Ways to Say the Idiom

There are many other ways in which you might refer to the meaning of the term tooth and nail, we are now going to see a few examples of this.

  • By every means
  • Fight hard

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Last Updated on March 12, 2020

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