or nertz


Origin of nerts

First recorded in 1930–35; by alteration


  1. Also nerts, nertz. (used to express disgust, defiance, disapproval, despair).
  1. insane; crazy.
  1. be nuts about,
    1. to be extremely or excessively enthusiastic about; be fervent in one's admiration of: Both of them are nuts about chamber music.
    2. to be deeply in love with: He's nuts about his new girlfriend.

Origin of nuts

First recorded in 1900–05; plural of nut Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for nertz


  1. a slang word for insane
  2. (foll by about or on) slang extremely fond (of) or enthusiastic (about)
  1. slang an expression of disappointment, contempt, refusal, or defiance
pl n
  1. a slang word for testiclesSee testicle
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 nertz

1932, originally American English college slang, colloquial or euphemistic pronunciation of nuts as a slang retort of defiance or dismissal (1931).



"crazy," 1846, from earlier be nutts upon "be very fond of" (1785), which is possibly from nuts (plural noun) "any source of pleasure" (1610s), from nut (q.v.). Sense influenced probably by metaphoric application of nut to "head" (1846, e.g. to be off one's nut "be insane," 1860). Nuts as a derisive retort is attested from 1931.

Connection with the slang "testicle" sense has tended to nudge it toward taboo. "On the N.B.C. network, it is forbidden to call any character a nut; you have to call him a screwball." ["New Yorker," Dec. 23, 1950] "Please eliminate the expression 'nuts to you' from Egbert's speech." [Request from the Hays Office regarding the script of "The Bank Dick," 1940] This desire for avoidance accounts for the euphemism nerts (c.1925).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper