wing nut

variants: or wingnut \ ˈwiŋ-​ˌnət How to pronounce wingnut (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

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Time Traveler for wing nut

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The first known use of wing nut was in 1834

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Cite this Entry

“Wing nut.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for wing nut

wing nut


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

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