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[nuht-shel] /ˈnʌtˌʃɛl/
the shell of a nut.
in a nutshell, in very brief form; in a few words:
Just tell me the story in a nutshell.
Origin of nutshell
1175-1225; Middle English nutescell; see nut, shell Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for in a nutshell


the shell around the kernel of a nut
in a nutshell, in essence; briefly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for in a nutshell



c.1200, nute-scalen; see nut + shell (n.). Figurative use with reference to "great condensation" (1570s) supposedly originally is a reference to a copy of the "Iliad," mentioned by Pliny, which was so small it could fit into the shell of a nut.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for in a nutshell



To condense; sum up: If I'm forced to nutshell it, the show is about community, it's about the workplace and the town

[1883+; fr the idiom put something in a nutshell]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with in a nutshell

in a nutshell

Concisely, in a few words, as in Here's our proposal—in a nutshell, we want to sell the business to you. This hyperbolic expression alludes to the Roman writer Pliny's description of Homer's Iliad being copied in so tiny a hand that it could fit in a nutshell. For a time it referred to anything compressed, but from the 1500s on it referred mainly to written or spoken words.


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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