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nutshell

[nuht-shel]
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noun
  1. the shell of a nut.
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Idioms
  1. in a nutshell, in very brief form; in a few words: Just tell me the story in a nutshell.
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Origin of nutshell

1175–1225; Middle English nutescell; see nut, shell
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for in a nutshell

barbed, pertinent, incisive, trenchant, sarcastic, telling, sharp, precise, short-lived, brief, terse, abbreviated, curt, pithy, blunt, concise, hasty, succinct, arbitrary, cursory

British Dictionary definitions for in a nutshell

nutshell

noun
  1. the shell around the kernel of a nut
  2. in a nutshell in essence; briefly
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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

Word Origin and History for in a nutshell

nutshell

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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.

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nutshell

see in a nutshell.

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