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;
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for in a nutshellbarbed
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
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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
Idioms and Phrases with 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
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