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wing nut

or wing·nut

noun
  1. a nut having two flat, widely projecting pieces such that it can be readily tightened with the thumb and forefinger.
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Origin of wing nut

First recorded in 1895–1900
Also called butterfly nut, thumbnut.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for wingnut

wing nut

noun
  1. a threaded nut tightened by hand by means of two flat lugs or wings projecting from the central bodyAlso called: butterfly nut
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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 wingnut

n.

"nut with flared sides for turning with the thumb and forefinger;" so called for its shape. Meaning "weird person" recorded by 1989, probably not from the literal sense but from the secondary sense of nut, influenced perhaps by slang senses of wing in wing-ding "wild party," originally "fit, spasm" (1937). An earlier, British, sense of wingnut was "person with large, protruding ears" (1986).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper