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

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    – choster
    Oct 18 '16 at 14:20

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.



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