Nail

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Related to horseshoe nail: Horseshoe nail ring

Nail

A unit of length equivalent to 2.25 inches.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Moreover, this concern applies not just to the big-ticket items--the equivalents of your horses and the armor for them and your horsemen--but includes simpler and more generic items like horseshoe nails. While the former may seem more pressing, it is the latter that more often are neglected, partly because one might assume that simpler components are plentiful in the commercial market and easily adapted to military use.
But in the operating room, want of the proverbial "horseshoe nail" during a surgical procedure can result in far worse than annoyance; it could mean the difference between life and death.
In these cases, it is a good idea to look for the missing "horseshoe nail."
The old nursery rhyme begins "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost ..." and goes on to warn how a great battle can be lost, "all for the want of a horseshoe nail." Great historical events do often seem to hinge on trifles like the shape of Cleopatra's nose, and certainly the outcome of many a battle has been influenced by random factors like horseshoes, the direction of the sun, or the state of someone's digestion.
And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, even in the smallest matters, because sometimes a little neglect may breed great mischief; adding, for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for want of care about a horseshoe nail.
The reference in the title of this paper to "the horseshoe nail" is from a poem by George Herbert:
Jemmie McCandless, a barefoot urchin of 8 whose parents had told him he'd get "whupped" if they ever caught him at the livery, scratched around in the sawdust on the floor hoping to find a discarded horseshoe nail that he could bend into a ring, while listening wide-eyed to the tall tales of the corps of loafers.