[ nuht-shel ]
/ ˈnʌtˌʃɛl /


the shell of a nut.


    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; see nut, shell Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nutshell

British Dictionary definitions for nutshell


/ (ˈnʌtˌʃɛl) /


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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for 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 nutshell


see in a nutshell.

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