Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nut n.1

1. in senses meaning ‘head’.

(a) [mid-16C+] (also top nut) the head of the penis.

(b) [mid-19C+] the head.

(c) [late 19C+] brains, intelligence.

(d) [1940s+] the head, as used to butt someone in a fight.

(e) [1990s+] (Aus.) in a game of two-up, the head side of the coin.

2. [early–mid-19C] an action that is intended to give pleasure, something positive [the pleasant flavour of a nut or nuts n.1 (1)].

3. with ref. to a person [ext. use of sense 1, often with an implied pun on ‘tough’, i.e. tough nut to crack].

(a) [mid-19C+] a person, a fellow .

(b) [late 19C+] a daredevil.

(c) see knut n.

4. [late 19C+] (Aus.) a horse that is hard to break in [abbr. hard nut n.].

5. with ref. to money [SE nut, as being the heart of the fruit; such money is at the heart of a project, a relationship etc.].

(a) [20C+] (US, orig. entertainment) the initial outlay, overheads, expenses; the break-even sum, as in a theatre production or film, after which profit starts.

(b) [20C+] (US) any required sum, a pay-off.

(c) [1920s+] (US Und.) protection money paid to corrupt policemen.

(d) [1970s+] the sum of money actually borrowed, as opposed to the interest that accrues on it.

In compounds

nutcracker (n.)

see separate entry.

nut-cut (adj.)

see separate entries.

nut ducker (n.) [note Aus. cattleman use duck his nut, of a horse, to (put its head down and) buck]

[1960s+] (Aus.) one who deliberately ignores a friend in the street.

nut-hook (n.)

[late 17C] a weapon, prob. a bludgeon.

nut-job (n.)

[2000s] a head-butt.

nut worker (n.) [the use of one’s brain to do this]

[1910s+] (Aus.) one who works out ways of avoiding hard work; thus ext. as a white-collar worker.

In phrases

blow one’s nut (v.)

to become furious.

do one’s nut (v.) (also do the nut)

[1910s+] to lose one’s temper, to lose emotional control, to get worked up.

do someone’s nut in (v.)

[1940s+] to drive someone mad.

get a nut (at) (v.)

[2000s] (UK Und.) to get a sight of.

get someone’s nut (v.)

[2000s] to tease, to ‘wind up’.

go off one’s nut (v.)

[late 19C+] to go mad, to lose emotional control.

lose one’s nut (v.)

[20C+] to lose emotional control; to act without thinking.

make the nut (v.)

[1950s+] (US) to achieve a target, to have a sufficiency.

nod the nut (v.)

1. [1930s+] (Aus./N.Z., also duck the nut, ...the scone, ...the skull, give it the nod, nod one’s head, ...the head, ...the scone, ...the skull) to plead guilty.

2. [1910s-40s] (Aus., also nod one’s head) to place a bet with a bookmaker on credit.

nut (it) out (v.)

1. [1910s+] (Aus.) to think it over, to work out.

2. to notice (someone).

nut on (v.) (US)

1. [20C+] to attack physically; to abuse verbally.

2. [1960s–70s] (also nut up) to ignore; to be silent.

nut out (v.)

[1960s+] (US black) to go mad, whether literally or metaphorically.

nuts of Priapus (v.)

[late 17C] pustules indicating a case of venereal disease.

nut up (v.)

[1970s+] to lose one’s temper completely, to go berserk.

off one’s nut (adj.) [mid-19C+]

1. drunk.

2. mad.

3. infatuated, obsessive, very enthusiastic.

4. angry.

off the nut

[1930s+] (US) free from debt; into profit.

on one’s own nut

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) on one’s own.

on the nut [20C+] (US)

1. in debt, out of pocket.

2. unemployed.

out of one’s nut [note earlier off one’s nut ]

1. [1930s+] crazy.

2. [1960s+] intoxicated, either through drink or, later, drugs.

put the nut in (v.) (also put in the nut)

[1960s] (Irish) to headbutt.

stick the nut on (v.) (also put a/the head on)

[mid-19C+] to hit with one’s head.

use one’s nut (v.)

[1930s+] to think, to act intelligently, to work things out.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

put the nuts on (v.) [i.e. one ‘turns a screw’]

[1940s–50s] (US prison) to threaten or intimidate, physically and/or verbally.