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[nuht] /nʌt/
a dry fruit consisting of an edible kernel or meat enclosed in a woody or leathery shell.
the kernel itself.
Botany. a hard, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit, as the chestnut or the acorn.
any of various devices or ornaments resembling a nut.
a block, usually of metal and generally square or hexagonal, perforated with a threaded hole so that it can be screwed down on a bolt to hold together objects through which the bolt passes.
Slang. the head.
  1. a person who is very enthusiastic about something; buff; enthusiast; devotee:
    He's a real circus nut.
  2. an extremely concerned or zealous person:
    My boss is a nut on double-checking everything.
  1. a foolish, silly, or eccentric person.
  2. an insane person; psychotic.
Slang: Vulgar. a testis.
  1. the operating expenses, usually figured weekly, of a theatrical production or other commercial enterprise; a break-even point.
  2. the total cost of producing a theatrical production or of forming and opening any new business venture.
  1. the ledge, as of ebony, at the upper end of the fingerboard, over which the strings pass.
  2. the movable piece at the lower end of the bow, by means of which the hairs may be slackened or tightened.
Printing. en (def 2).
verb (used without object), nutted, nutting.
to seek for or gather nuts:
to go nutting in late autumn.
from soup to nuts. soup (def 7).
hard nut to crack,
  1. a problem difficult to solve; a formidable undertaking.
  2. a person difficult to know, understand, or convince.
Also, tough nut to crack.
off one's nut, Slang.
  1. Sometimes Offensive. foolish, silly, or insane.
  2. confused; unreasonable.
  3. mistaken or wrong:
    You're off your nut if you think such a plan can succeed.
Origin of nut
before 900; 1900-05 for def 8b; Middle English nute, Old English hnutu; cognate with Dutch noot, German Nuss, Old Norse hnot; akin to Latin nux
Related forms
nutlike, adjective


[noot] /nut/
noun, Egyptian Religion.
the goddess of the sky, sometimes shown as a cow bearing Ra on her back and the stars on her underside.


National Union of Teachers. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nut
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It represents a sort of nut, itself too bulky for a railway truck.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • You miserable little beast—with cats everywhere, and not a nut for miles!

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • He'll be out for de goods; it's a gal owns him, an' dere'll be nut'in' doin'.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • "Smash him, Sam—smash in his nut for him," piped the smallest Micky cheerfully.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • You cracked the nut with me; it doesn't become you to sneer at it now!

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for nut


a dry one-seeded indehiscent fruit that usually possesses a woody wall
(not in technical use) any similar fruit, such as the walnut, having a hard shell and an edible kernel
the edible kernel of such a fruit
  1. an eccentric person
  2. a person who is mentally disturbed
a slang word for head (sense 1)
(Brit, slang) do one's nut, to be extremely angry; go into a rage
(slang) off one's nut, mad, crazy, or foolish
a person or thing that presents difficulties (esp in the phrase a tough or hard nut to crack)
a small square or hexagonal block, usu. metal, with a threaded hole through the middle for screwing on the end of a bolt
(mountaineering) a variously shaped small metal block, usually a wedge or hexagonal prism (originally an ordinary engineer's nut) with a wire or rope loop attached, for jamming into a crack to provide security Also called chock
(music) Also called (US and Canadian) frog
  1. the ledge or ridge at the upper end of the fingerboard of a violin, cello, etc, over which the strings pass to the tuning pegs
  2. the end of a violin bow that is held by the player
(printing) another word for en
a small usually gingery biscuit
(Brit) a small piece of coal
verb nuts, nutting, nutted
(intransitive) to gather nuts
(transitive) (slang) to butt (someone) with the head
See also nuts
Derived Forms
nutlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English hnutu; related to Old Norse hnot, Old High German hnuz (German Nuss)


abbreviation (in Britain)
National Union of Teachers
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 nut

"hard seed," Old English hnutu, from Proto-Germanic *khnut- (cf. Old Norse hnot, Dutch noot, Old High German hnuz, German nuß "nut"), from PIE *kneu- "nut" (cf. Latin nux; see nucleus). Sense of "testicle" is attested from 1915. Nut-brown is from c.1300 of animals; c.1500 of complexions of women.

Meaning "crazy person, crank" is attested from 1903, (British form nutter first attested 1958; nut-case is from 1959); see nuts. American English slang sense of "amount of money required for something" is first recorded 1912. The nut that goes onto a bolt is first recorded 1610s (used of other small mechanical pieces since early 15c.). Nuts and bolts "fundamentals" is from 1960.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nut in Science
A dry, indehiscent simple fruit consisting of one seed surrounded by a hard and thick pericarp (fruit wall). The seed does not adhere to the pericarp but is connected to it by the funiculus. A nut is similar to an achene but larger. Acorns, beechnuts, chestnuts, and hazelnuts are true nuts. Informally, other edible seeds or dry fruits enclosed in a hard or leathery shell are also called nuts, though they are not true nuts. For instance, an almond kernel is actually the seed of a drupe. Its familiar whitish shell is an endocarp found within the greenish fruit of the almond tree. Peanuts are actually individual seeds from a seed pod called a legume.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for nut



  1. The head (1846+)
  2. A crazy or eccentric person; maniac; flake, screwball: It is forbidden to call any character a nut; you have to call him a screwball (1903+)
  3. A very devoted enthusiast; bug, freak: He's a nut about double crostics (1934+)
  4. The investment needed for a business; capital and fixed expenses: producing a daily income that barely met the nut/ Our nut is high, but our variable expenses are practically nothing (1912+)
  5. Any illegal payoff to a police officer: what they called ''the nut,'' payoffs to the police (1960s+ Underworld)
  6. A share in the graft collected by police officers (1960s+ Underworld)
  7. A testicle; ball: He said it griped his left nut (1899+)

Related Terms

gripe one's ass, off one's nut, tough nut, a tough nut to crack

[insanity sense probably fr late 1800s off one's nut, that is, head; senses 4, 5, and 6 fr the custom of taking the retaining nut from the wheel of a circus wagon, to be returned when all bills were paid]

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 nut


In addition to the idioms beginning with nut
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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