nuts and bolts


Definition of nuts and bolts

1 : the working parts or elements
2 : the practical workings of a machine or enterprise as opposed to theoretical considerations or speculative possibilities

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Other Words from nuts and bolts

nuts-and-bolts adjective

Examples of nuts and bolts in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The nuts and bolts An annual $1 million award would require about a $50 million dollars investment, a small nonprofit foundation to manage the award and its finances, and a good publicity team to organize media attention. Zoltan Istvan, Quartz, "Rich people shouldn’t be the only ones who get to live forever," 29 July 2019 Since taking the reins in May 2017, Silverman has moved to improve search, payment and checkout, and shipping—the nuts and bolts that build customer trust. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "How Etsy Crafted an E-Commerce Comeback," 25 July 2019 The nuts and bolts of cranking out hits was part of what the legendary label imparted to songwriters — the melodic arc of a chorus, the tension and release of a hook, the logic and compression of a lyric. John Adamian,, "Songwriter Jimmy Webb performing at the Kate," 19 July 2019 This takes all of our energy, but there is no other way — these are the nuts and bolts of our improbable move. Joy Notoma, Longreads, "When to Throw a Goodbye Party," 19 July 2019 Priority notes that there are a few components—some nuts and bolts; the front brake—that aren't rust-proof. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Does a Rust-Proof Bike Really Exist?," 18 July 2019 Asked what’s next, a top Biden campaign official focused on nuts and bolts: hiring more field organizers in the early states and finishing the fundraising quarter strong. Mike Memoli, NBC News, "Team Biden hopes to move swiftly past fiery clash with Harris in first debate," 28 June 2019 Sweat is the younger, highly competent guy who can handle the nuts and bolts of a complex plan. Michael Ordoña,, "The killers of ‘Dannemora’ ‘needed each other,’ say Paul Dano and Benicio Del Toro," 17 June 2019 Officials said most of the work already done is conceptual and subsequent work will be the more specific nuts and bolts of the design. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego moving forward with long-awaited El Camino Real widening," 29 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nuts and bolts.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nuts and bolts

1947, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near nuts and bolts


nut rush


nuts and bolts

nutsch filter



Statistics for nuts and bolts

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for nuts and bolts

The first known use of nuts and bolts was in 1947

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nuts and bolts

Comments on nuts and bolts

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to shake or wave menacingly

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