• synonyms


  1. a lump of something, as of precious metal.
  2. a lump of native gold.
  3. anything of great value, significance, or the like: nuggets of wisdom.
  4. a bite-size piece of chicken, fish, etc., usually batter-fried.
  5. Welding. (in a spot-weld) the metal fused.
  6. Australian.
    1. a powerful, heavy animal.
    2. a strong, thickset man.
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Origin of nugget

1850–55; perhaps diminutive of obsolete nug small piece, variant of nog2; see -et
Related formsnug·get·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for nuggets

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Of the gold they took mostly dust, because it packed closer than nuggets.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • I could have won every peso if I had put up only a little handful of the nuggets.

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • They carry good-sized pokes of nuggets and dust which they use in trading.

    The Trail of a Sourdough

    May Kellogg Sullivan

  • "But you cannot be always sure of your nuggets," muttered Tony.

    Tony Butler

    Charles James Lever

  • Blake put the nuggets into his pocket and threw the rest out into the pool.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

British Dictionary definitions for nuggets


  1. a small piece or lump, esp of gold in its natural state
  2. something small but valuable or excellent
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Word Origin

C19: origin unknown


  1. trademark shoe polish
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  1. (tr; sometimes not capital) informal to shine (shoes)
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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 nuggets



1852, "lump of gold," probably from southwestern England dialectal nug "lump," of unknown origin [OED]. Another theory is that it is from a misdivision of an ingot. Transferred sense is from 1859.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper