wing nut

noun
variants: or wingnut \ ˈwiŋ-​ˌnət How to pronounce wing nut (audio) \
plural wing nuts or wingnuts

Definition of wing nut

1 usually wing nut : a nut with wings that provide a grip for the thumb and finger The wing nut on the handle is tightened to secure the blade in the measured position.The Home Tool Kit
2 slang : a mentally unsound person Ever since his mesmerizing performance as a psychotic cop killer in 1979's The Onion Field, Woods has possessed the image of a driven, angry, over-the-edge wing nut.— Susan Schindehette et al.
3 slang : one who advocates extreme measures or changes (as in politics) Many on Cheney's staff see Bush's aides as too liberal, while some Bush aides view the vice-presidential staff as wing nuts.— Nancy Gibbs and Mike Allen Russia proved highly susceptible to the lure of what, in current parlance, would be called wingnuts (fanatics on the far left or right).The Economist

First Known Use of wing nut

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About wing nut

Time Traveler for wing nut

Time Traveler

The first known use of wing nut was in 1834

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near wing nut

wing net

wing nut

wing one's way

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for wing nut

Cite this Entry

“Wing nut.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wing%20nut. Accessed 5 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for wing nut

wing nut

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wing nut

: a piece of metal that has a hole in the center and two projecting parts and that you can screw onto a bolt by using your fingers

More from Merriam-Webster on wing nut

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wing nut

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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