Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nuts n.1

[‘Prob. ex C.16 nuts to, an enticement to’ (DSUE)]

1. anything agreeable, satisfactory, an acceptable situation; usu. as nuts for/to a person.

[UK]Fletcher Mad Lover V iv: But they are needful mischiefs, And such are Nuts to me.
[UK]‘R.M.’ Scarronides 57: Then news was brought (O that was nuts) That they must now set up their hutts.
[UK]N. Thompson Loyal Songs 198: By turns the saints turn’d up their Scuts / Each jealous of the others bliss, / The pleasure was as sweet as Nuts / Like the Devil and Witch they kiss & hug.
[UK]R. Estcourt Fair Example I i: Ah! ’tis Nuts to you, and you always think that a thick Shell has the Sweetest Kernel.
[UK]Swift letter xxxviii 8 Jan. in Journal to Stella (1901) 378: Lord-keeper and Treasurer teased me for a week. It was nuts to them; a serious thing with a vengeance.
[UK]R. North Lives of the Norths (1826) I 39: This was nuts to the old Lord, who thought he had outwitted Frank .
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: It was nuts for them; i.e. it was very agreeable to them.
[UK] ‘The Dustman’s Delight’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 87: This was nuts for us dustmen.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1785].
[UK]R. Barham ‘The Lay of St. Odile’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1840) 256: One hint to your vassals, – a month at ‘the Mill’ / Shall be nuts to what they’ll get who worry Odille!
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker III 46: He knew it was nuts to me, and that I wouldn’t spare him one mite or morsel.
[UK]Dickens Christmas carol 1: To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call ‘nuts’ to Scrooge.
[Ind]G.F. Atkinson Curry & Rice (3 edn) n.p.: Herr von Guttler is ‘great nuts’.
[Aus]Australasian (Melbourne) 4 Aug. 11/2: The ‘route’ is not always hailed with delight by the soldier, but in my case it was, to use a slang term, ‘real nuts’.
[UK] ‘’Arry to the Front!’ in Punch 9 Mar. 100/2: I tell you, it’s nuts and no error.
[UK]H. Smart Post to Finish II 240: It was nuts to me to find I had just done Phaeton.
[UK]Western Dly Press 20 Aug. 3/7: Houp-la! Here be ‘nuts’ for Aunt ‘Sally’!
[UK] ‘’Arry on the ’Oliday Season’ in Punch 16 Aug. 74/1: ’Ardly know which is lummiest, swelp me! It’s nuts to ’ook on to a swell.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Tom Sawyer, Detective 11: It was always nuts for Tom Sawyer – a mystery was.
[US]S.E. White Arizona Nights 44: This was nuts for the Honourable Timothy Clare.
[US]R. Lardner Treat ’Em Rough 67: I took my first lesson last night and it is going to be nuts to learn it because most of the words is just like English only spelled different.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 1471/1: Nuts, the. 1. Anything excellent or desirable; perfection.

2. (US) the nuts, a strategic advantage, esp. in gambling, as in a winning hand in cards.

[US] D. Maurer ‘Carnival Cant’ in AS VI:5 334: nuts, n. Drop, in the sense of having someone covered with a gun.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 302: The nuts. See block game.

In phrases

for nuts (adv.) [the relative insignifance of a nut]

at all, in no way, e.g. she can’t cook for nuts.

[UK]Western Times 30 Oct. 4/3: One of the spectators remarked that he ‘could not kick for nuts’.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Minor Dialogues 82: She carn’t play for nuts.
[UK]E.W. Hornung Black Mask (1992) 155: Because you never could act for nuts!
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 25 Nov. 4/8: Assassins will be circumspect, / And won’t be drawn for nuts.
[UK]R. Tressell Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (1955) 198: ‘You can’t play for nuts,’ he said scornfully.
[Aus]E. Dyson Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 90: I don’t wear out nothin’ on the ’orses, nor toss for nuts.
[Aus]L.D. Richards diary 22 Apr. 🌐 Those damned 1st Mons can’t lay wires for nuts.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 404: Won’t wash here for nuts nohow.
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 255: Now young Jerningham there hates it and so can’t feed for nuts.
[Aus]A. Gurney Bluey & Curley 20 Oct. [synd. cartoon] You can’t drill for nuts.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 38: I don’t count. I count fer nuts.
[Aus]G. Hamilton Summer Glare 168: I [...] couldn’t run for nuts.