1
informal
a
: enthusiastic, keen
often used with about
She's nuts about baseball.
b
: feeling affection or love for someone or something
often used with for or about
He's nuts for her.
They're nuts about each other.
2
informal + sometimes offensive : not mentally sound

see also drive (someone) nuts

Did you know?

The informal adjective nuts dates to the early 1900s but developed from an earlier 17th-century slang meaning often found in phrases like "nuts to me" and "nuts for me," where it referred to a source of delight, as in this quote from English satirist Jonathan Swift's A Journal to Stella (1766): "Why, we had not one word of quarrel; only he railed at me when I was gone: and Lord Keeper and Treasurer teased me for a week. It was nuts to them; a serious thing with a vengeance." The use likely had something to do with the taste of the dry fruit or seed since early figurative examples of the noun include the expression "nuts and cheese." Adjectival use, typically describing enthusiasm about or fondness for someone or something came about in the late 18th century. In Britain, the term was often used in the phrase "dead nuts on," as "She is dead nuts on the boy next door." The notion that enthusiasm and infatuation often lead to obsession may have played a role in the early 20th-century senses of nuts denoting extreme devotion, as in "nuts about baseball," and functioning as a synonym of "insane."

Examples of nuts in a Sentence

They looked at me like I was nuts. the bizarre rantings in the notes left behind by the artist convinced historians that the guy was nuts
Recent Examples on the Web Contrary to popular belief, peanuts are actually not nuts. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 30 Mar. 2023 Nonetheless, April 5, 2022, was nuts. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 16 Mar. 2023 To child-free me, this is nuts! Amy Dickinson, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Mar. 2023 The guy’s life and the whole story is nuts. Derek Lawrence, Vulture, 27 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nuts.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of nuts was in 1785

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near nuts

Cite this Entry

“Nuts.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuts. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

nuts

adjective
1
informal : enthusiastic, keen
was nuts about baseball
2
informal, sometimes offensive : not mentally sound

More from Merriam-Webster on nuts

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!