1

What is the origin of the phrase "spitting nails"? I know what it means, but am curious about its origin. Can you help?

closed as off-topic by jimm101, MetaEd Oct 18 '16 at 18:53

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Please remember that a strong question should be complete— what do you understand the phrase to mean, and what has your preliminary research into its origins suggested so far? I strongly encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. – choster Oct 18 '16 at 14:20
0

Spit nails is an AmE variant of the more common methaporic expressions

Spit blood/venom:

(US also spit nails, Australian English also spit tacks):

  • to speak in an angry way, or to show anger: I thought he was going to spit blood when he saw what had happened. (Cambridge Dictionary)

The expression is from the '60s:

  • 1965 Sep. 6, Ann Landers, "Exception is Acknowledged," Spokane Daily Chronicle, p. 17 (retrieved 22 Nov 2013):

  • [O]ne thing about Aunt Jenny gets me so mad I could spit nails.

Wiktionary

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.