tenpenny nail

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

tenpenny nail (plural tenpenny nails)

  1. (dated) A relatively large nail, three inches (7.62 centimeters) in length.
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, ch. 67:
      The face, horribly seared by the frequent application of the red-hot poker, and further ornamented by the insertion, in the tip of the nose, of a tenpenny nail, yet smiled blandly in its less lacerated parts.
    • 1909, Joseph A. Altsheler, The Last of the Chiefs, ch. 3:
      "Al, I could bite a tenpenny nail in half and digest both pieces, too."
    • 2001 Aug. 26, Fred Chappell, "He was a man, not a super-rube" (review of Ava's Man by Rick Bragg), Chicago Sun-Times, p. 16C:
      He could still climb a scaffold like a monkey, still drive a ten-penny nail with one measured, massive, dead-on blow.

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