phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Pay on the nail

Posted by ESC on December 22, 2000

In Reply to: Phrase meaning posted by P galie on December 20, 2000

: Can someone enlighten me as to the meaning and or derivation of the phrase "Cash on the nail"
: I assume it is related to "cash on the barrelhead" but that is just a conjecture

This is from a previous discussion:
Can anyone tell me the meaning and/or origin of the phrase " to pay on the nail ".

: Down on the nail; Pay down on the nail. In ready money. The Latin ungulus (from unguis) means a shot or reckoning, hence ungulum dare, to pay one's reckoning.

: In the centre of The Limerick Stock Exchange is a pillar with a circular plate of copper about three feet in diameter, called The Nail, on which the earnest of all stock-exchange bargains has to be paid.
: A similar custom prevailed at Bristol, where were four pillars, called nails, in front of the Exchange for a similar purpose. In Liverpool Exchange there is a plate of copper called The Nail, on which bargains are settled.

True, but these were only permanent versions of portable "nails" carried around medieval fairs in earlier Anglo Saxon times in England.