spit[ting] nails

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 23 12:25:24 UTC 2011

Sounds like a rough equivalent of "shitting bricks", which can either mean
"petrified" (afraid) or "ranting angrily". Yes, I've heard both versions.
OED only has the former (|| sweating bricks). Partridge distinguishes
between "being worried" and "being frightened" (also cited in OED), but I
have not seen anyone acknowledge that "angry rant" meaning.


On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 8:09 AM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:

> And there's the similar (perhaps related?) "shit[ting] nails."  It can mean
> 'be[ing] angry'--though I have also heard it in the sense of 'be[ing]
> anxious'.
> --Charlie

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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