General English


  • noun a hard indehiscent fruit with one seed
  • noun any hard edible seed contained in a fibrous or woody shell, e.g. groundnuts
  • noun a small cube of compressed meal, a convenient form of animal feed

Cars & Driving

  • noun a small, metal block with a threaded central hole so that it can be screwed on to a bolt, screw, etc.


  • A short metal block with a threaded hole in the center for receiving a bolt or threaded rod.


  • The seed of a plant usually enclosed in a fruit and edible when ripe without further cooking or processing. The term is also applied to or some underground seed-like tubers. Most, apart from chestnuts, contain large amounts of protein and oil or fat. The most important in commerce are almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, cobnuts, filberts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. The coconut is an unusual hollow nut and there are many others of regional interest.


  • noun the head. A predictable metaphor which had become established slang by the mid-19th century (see the verb form).
  • verb to butt someone with one’s head, usually in the face, a common form of assault among street fighters and practised brawlers. The concept is also expressed by phrases such as ‘stick the nut on (someone)’ or ‘give someone the nut’. Gorbals kiss, Glasgow kiss and ‘Glasgow handshake’ are colourful alternatives.


  • noun a fruit with an edible centre inside a hard shell

Origin & History of “nut”

Nut is a member of a restricted family of Indo-European ‘nut’-words, present only in the Germanic, romance, and Celtic languages, that were derived ultimately from the Indo-European base *knu-, denoting ‘lump’. Latin nux (source of French noix, Italian noce, and Spanish nuez) came from an extended base *knuk-. Its derivative nucleus ‘nut, kernel’ has given English nucleus (18th c.) and nuclear (19th c.), and vulgar Latin *nucātum is the source of English nougat (19th c.). The Germanic branch of the family, on the other hand, comes from an extended base *knut-, which has produced German nuss, Dutch noot, Swedish nöt, Danish nød, and English nut.

The adjectival use of the plural, nuts, for ‘crazy’ dates back to the mid-19th century. It came from the metaphorical application of nut to ‘head’ – hence off one’s nut ‘deranged’, and in due course nuts.