fight tooth and nail

fight tooth and nail
also, fight tooth and claw

Meaning | Synonyms

  • to fight very fiercely
  • to compete for something ferociously
  • the intense battle to achieve something
  • combat using all your resources and tools at your disposal
  • put strenuous effort into something to get the outcome you want

Example Sentences

  1. I want this job so I’m going to fight tooth and nail for it.
  2. The green party is fighting tooth and nail to save the world from the effects of climate change.
  3. He vowed to fight tooth and nail to prove his innocence in court.
  4. They fought tooth and nail to get the parental rights law changed.
  5. I had to fight my way tooth and nail through the crowd to get to my seat at the concert.
  6. The family is going to fight tooth and nail to get justice for her son.
  7. The two men find that their political futures are at stake and their supporters are expected to fight tooth and nail.
  8. The union joining hands to fight tooth and nail against the inhumane policy.
  9. When it comes to their money, they will fight tooth and claw to keep it.
  10. He will need to fight tooth and claw for a place in that team.


This idiom appears to stem from the ancient Latin phrase toto corpore atque omnibus ungulis (all the body and every nail).

The earliest recorded use of this expression in print was in the 1560s. Ninian Winget refers to ‘tuith and nail’ as a proverb in his work Certain Tractates. If he refers to it as a proverb in his writings, then it was in common use well before this time.


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put your foot in it

Meaning: say something (by mistake) that upsets, humiliates, or embarrasses someone

Example: Carla put her foot right in it when she congratulated her neighbour on being pregnant. It turns out she's not expecting but had just put on weight. Read on


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