English Idioms

Comprehensive resource for understanding and mastering English idioms

Hit the nail on the head


The idiom "hit the nail on the head" means to make an accurate or precise statement, to describe something exactly as it is. It can also mean to solve a problem or perform a task very well. The expression is derived from the literal act of hitting a nail with a hammer perpendicularly and accurately, which helps to fasten an object securely.


  • During the meeting, John hit the nail on the head when he pointed out the main issue that needed to be addressed.
  • The painter was able to capture the essence of the portrait by hitting the nail on the head with his color choices and brushstrokes.
  • My friend's analysis of the situation hit the nail on the head; it was spot-on and accurate.
  • The chef hit the nail on the head by creating a dish that was both flavorful and visually appealing.
  • I was impressed with the way the musician hit the nail on the head with their interpretation of the song.

The usage of the idiom can vary depending on the context. For example, it can be used to describe someone who is very knowledgeable about a particular subject, or someone who has a lot of experience in performing a certain task. Additionally, the idiom can also be used to describe a situation that is complex and requires a lot of attention to detail.

Roots and History

The earliest known use of the idiom "hit the nail on the head" dates back to the 17th century. It was first recorded in the English language by Sir Thomas More in his book "A New Dialogue Concerning the Third Booke of Plato's Lawes." Over time, the idiom has evolved to encompass not just physical actions but also mental and emotional ones as well.

Synonyms in English

  • Strike a chord
  • Hit the mark
  • Nail it
  • Strike at the heart of the matter
  • Go straight to the point

Synonyms in other languages

  • 穿心针 (Chinese) - to hit the nail on the head or to be very precise and accurate
  • 篇篇謝識 (Japanese) - to praise someone for their work, especially their ability to solve a problem or perform a task well
  • מהנים אמן אשר יבך לשונים אשר נהגים כדיסהם (Hebrew) - to be very knowledgeable about something and able to apply that knowledge in a practical way
  • سٹาرينگ פيش (Persian) - to pursue a goal with dedication and determination, ultimately achieving success in it
  • هيئة الكثاب (Arabic) - an organization or institution that is dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture and traditions of a particular region or community

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