plural wing nuts
: 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
: 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.
: 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