Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nut n.2

[nuts adj.]

1. (orig. US, also nuts) an insane person.

[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 336: We speak of a person whom we despise as being a nuts.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith in the City (1993) 28: He’s a nut. I’m jolly glad I’m under old Waller now.
[US]H.G. van Campen ‘Life on Broadway’ in McClures Mag. Aug. 194/2: ‘You’re a nut for trustin’ any of them’.
[US]W.J. Schira diary 13 Mar. 🌐 The nut jumped from his bed 3 onto the next & cut the man’s throat in 4 & went all the way down on top of the beds as far as 14, & slashed at every man’s throat with a razor.
[US]N. Putnam West Broadway 117: ‘Jim, you nut,’ I says, ‘'have a heart! Let Tom drive, please! Oh, Jim, you make me so nervous!’.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 114: When the money was thrown so recklessly on the table, I thought I had met a nut.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Cemetery Bait’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 529: He turns out to be a raving nut.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 146: Doc Green’s bug-house. He’s a nut.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 10: People in buses looked around to see the ‘overexcited nut’.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 207: Harry was a nut, but that was what made him so valuable.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 27: Your friend must be some kind of nut.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 20: I was the one at home that everybody thought was a nut.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 67: It’s good luck to help out nuts.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Goodoo Goodoo 131: I don’t know why but I quite fancy the little nut.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 96: You sit in a rubber room with a bunch of other nuts.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 56: Hastings continued walking. Kelly watched [...] ‘Fuckin’ nut,’ he said.

2. (US campus) an unpopular student.

[US]Boston Globe Sun. Mag. 21 Dec. 7–8: The unpopular man is referred to as a ‘nut,’ a ‘dope’ and a ‘sad one.’.

3. (orig. US) a fan, an enthusiast, an obsessive; usu. in defining comb., e.g. cricket nut, computer nut.

[US]R.W. Lardner in McClure’s Mag. Aug. 21/2: He’s a nut all right on the singin’ stuff... He’s a pretty good guy, even if he is crazy.
E. Condon We Called It Music 213: Leeds was a drum nut; he had a complete set of them in his triplex apartment.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 94: Some guy in shorts and a knapsack, one of them health nuts.
[Can]Maclean’s (Toronto) Oct. 80: He was a hi-fi nut who made his own equipment, which he could have got from Philco for $200 cheaper, and he was into us for several hundred dollars.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 213: Learning from my new-found colleagues that the ‘Old man’ was a religious nut did little for my confidence.
[UK]Guardian G2 22 Sept. 11: Gun nuts apparently believe these toddlers would be OK today if they had been carrying guns.
[Aus](con. 1960s-70s) T. Taylor Top Fellas 17/1: Sharps were nuts for Italian style.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 129: From hating the idea, he’d become a movie nut.
J. Lansdale Dec. 🌐 So I all of a sudden discovered crime and mystery [...] and when I did I just became a nut for it.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 117: Bicycles, skateboards, and Rollerblades are for health nuts and kids.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 88: ‘Norm’s a right-wing nut’.

4. (orig. US) a course of action, an obsession.

[US]E. Torres Q&A 102: Now he’s after me. Maybe he’s on one of those death squad nuts. But I’m not going to sit still and get whacked out.

5. (US Und.) a beggar who is insane, or poses as such.

[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 301: Beggars [...] may be further sub-divided into groups: a. Blinkey (blind) b. Deafey (deaf) c. Dummy (dumb) d. D & D (deaf and dumb) e. Army or wingey (armless) f. Peggy (legless) g. Crippy (paralyzed) h. Fritzy (epileptic) i. Nuts (feeble-minded or insane) j. Shaky (with pronounced tremors).

In derivatives

nuttery (n.)

insanity; stupidity.

[Scot]T. Black Gutted 61: At the traffic lights [...] I spotted an act of full-on nuttery in progress.

In phrases

be a nut about (v.) (also, ...for, ...on)

to be enthusiastic about or expert in.

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 51: The old fellow is a nut on the idea he can cure a fiend.
[US]H. McCoy They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in Four Novels (1983) 19: She’s a nut about these things [i.e. dance marathons].
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 30: He was kind of a nut on barber-shops.
[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 129: My deputy’s a nut about sports facts.
have a nut on (v.)

to be obsessed with.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 60: We heard word last night that Jack Johnson and George Little, his manager, had a nut on moving pictures and that the champion would not exert himself in trying to knock Ketchel out so that the moving pictures would be a harvest.

Pertaining to madness or eccentricity, of people

In compounds

nutbag (n.)

(US) a mentally unstable person.

D. Lehane Sacred 196: ‘Maybe [...] we accepted too many things as truth at the beginning and we were wrong.’ ‘Like thinking Trevor was an okay guy and not a homicidal, incestuous nutbag?’ .
[UK]Guardian Guide 29 May–4 June 31: Hold tight you nutbags.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 43: You did a lot of digging, looking for one missing nut bag.
[US]W. Ellis Crooked Little Vein 119: ‘This is how you treat your friends?’ ‘He’s a nutbag, Trix.’.
[US]F. Bill ‘The Accident’ in Crimes in Southern Indiana [ebook] ‘Oh, I see, so you think I’m a recluse? A nut bag’.
[UK]Guardian 3 Aug. 🌐 What the EDC ravers most recall are the ‘nutbags’ and ‘mentalists’ who flocked to Gatecrasher, the Sheffield club.

see separate entries.

nutbar (n.) (also nutbucket)

(US) a lunatic.

[US]National Lampoon (U.S.) Oct. 8: I thought the guy was a real nutbar until I followed his directions [OED].
[US]E. Richards Cocaine True 127: Man, there goes Nutbucket. She’s a real nut.
[UK]L. Gould Shagadelically Speaking 38: The president of the United States calls Dr. Evil a ‘nutbar’.
[UK]‘Aidan Truhen’ Price You Pay 217: [S]he does not concur with your assessment regarding my being a nutbar.
nut-boy (n.)

(US) a madman, an eccentric.

[US]R. Price Clockers 359: This kid sounds like a fucking nut-boy.
nutcake (n.)

(US) a fool, a lunatic, an eccentric.

[US]Falk & Davis Mandrake the Magician in Zanesville (OH) Signal 14 July 14/1: [cartoon caption] Since you prefer prize fighters, I’ve become one to please you, Carma. – She doesn’t need your flowers, nutcake!
P. Welles Babyhip 177: She wasn’t going to let a nutcake bug her .
[US]G.V. Higgins City on Hill 165: ‘He’s representing Michael Tarza.’ ‘That nutcake,’ Barry said.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 78: I can outtalk any guy in Boston that’s got an all-night call-in show, along with all the nutcakes that call him up.

see separate entries.

nut doctor (n.) (also nut doc)

(orig. US) a psychiatrist.

[US]D. Clemmer Prison Community (1940) 334/1: nut doctor, n. A psychiatrist.
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 270: All nut doctors are the same [...] They just want to know if you play with yourself.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 72: The law told me that the nut doc had given me a favourable report .
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 155: In the first interview the nut doctors knew / she was as freakish as a three-dollar bill.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 273: The crazy one might be said to be a nutbrain or nuthead, to be nuts, nutsy, or even as nutty as a fruitcake; to belong in a nut college or nuthouse; to be in need of a treatment by a nut doctor or nutpick.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 321: I’ve seen grown nut doctors sit there and cry.
[Scot]I. Welsh Decent Ride 298: I’m going to refer to you to Dr Mikel Christenson, who is an excellent psychotherapist [...] — A nut doctor? What good’s that gaunny fuckin well dae?
nutfuck (n.)

(US) an eccentric.

D. Jenkins You Call It Sports 274: Well, there are nutfucks who still jog today.
nuthead (n.) (also nutbrain) [-head sfx (1)]

(orig. US) a fool, a simpleton; thus nutheaded adj.

[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 165: A nutheaded Swozzie, who could get into Matteawan without Credentials, moved down the line of Distinguished Guests asking for Autographs.
[US]Bee (Earlington, KY) 12 may 4/2: Any nuthead could do that.
[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 20: I just mentioned that old Nuthead there don’t know the time of day.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 273: The crazy one might be said to be a nutbrain or nuthead.
nut-hutch (n.)

(Aus.) a psychiatric institution.

[Aus](con. 1960s-70s) T. Taylor Top Fellas 11/2: Some sharpies were sweeties [...] a few were downright fit for the nut-hutch.
nut-job (n.) [job n.2 (2)]

(US) a lunatic or very eccentric person; also attrib.

[US]Newark Advocate (OH) 2 Nov. 2/5: "Jim Bishop Reports" (syndicated column) The commissioner [of the NYPD] asked 75 police departments around the world to send their slang phrases to him. Arm published the result in the police magazine Spring 3100. Here are some samples: [...] PSYCHOTIC. Nut job. In orbit. Mooner.
[US]E. Torres Q&A 71: We get a squeal that a nut-job has got a knife.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 160: Pachanga — another nut-job.
[UK]P. Redmond Tucker and Co 14: Why do you reckon nutjobs like Gripper carry on like they do?
[US]E. Bogosian Talk Radio (1989) 32: Judy thinks your show is for nut jobs and psychos.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 13 Aug. 18: A child-menacing nutjob.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 281: I can not be expected to be around a real live nutjob like that even one more time.
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] Just when I think she can’t be any more of a nut-job she goes and surprises me.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘The Dickensian Aspect’ Wire ser. 5 ep. 6 [TV script] Some nut job that’s killing homeless guys.
[Ire]K. Barry ‘Fjord of Killary’ in New Yorker 24 Jan. 🌐 They were all nut jobs. [...] They suffer all manner of delusions, paranoia, warped fantasies.
[UK]Independent (London) 4 Sept. 23/1: A nasty outfit comprised of right-wing nut-jobs.
[Aus] A. Bergen ‘Dread Fellow Churls’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] This nut job is dangerous, Maquina.
[Aus] A. Nette ‘Chasing Atlantis’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] New Atlantic has all the features associated with your garden variety nut job cult.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] ‘[I]f a nutjob like me can make my way in, anybody can’.
[UK]in Guardian 30 June 🌐 [Boris Johnson] is a left leaning nut job who favours high levels of immigration into a country with a shortage of homes.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 249: A charming, eccentric blowhard from Brisbane [...] He’s backstabbed [and] the whispers are vicious: ‘nut-job,’ ‘crazy’ and ‘dangerous’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Squeeze Me 271: ‘How’d you track down this nut job?’.
[Aus]A. Nette Orphan Road 72: [T]he nut jobs in this place would probably cheer Swain on as he wrestled Tremont to the ground.
nut-nut (n.) [redup.]

an insane, eccentric person.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 24: The geezer’s a total fuckin nut-nut. 19 Nov. 🌐 [headline] Princess Nut Nut or avenging angel? / Why I can’t get Carrie Symonds figured out.
nut role

see separate entries.

nut roll (n.) [pun on the sweet]

1. (US black) an eccentric or mad person.

[US]R.C. Cruz Straight Outta Compton 12: Yolanda wheeled back around and cheesed, playing the nut roll.

2. (N.Z. prison) a homosexual.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 127/1: nut roll n. a homosexual.
nut wagon (n.) (also nut train)

(US) a state of madness, psychosis.

[US]T.I. Rubin In the Life 9: I’m not for the nut wagon, nothing psycho about me. [Ibid.] 12: Bang! sudden-like, I nearly hop on the nut train. Well, I began to be afraid.

Pertaining to madness or eccentricity, of institutions

In compounds

nut alley (n.)

(US prison) the prison insane ward.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Nut alley, prison insane ward.
nut college (n.)

(US) a lunatic asylum/psychiatric institution.

Kansas U. Qly 90: nut college: lunatic asylum. — Chicago.
[US]Salt Lake Herald (UT) 19 Oct. 5/1: A few more of the nickel movement [i.e. cheap whisky] and James to the nut college where the crackers [sic] will do for him.
[US]‘Sleepy’ Burke Prison Gates Ajar 9: I [...] played ‘daffy’ (insane) and was landed in a ‘nut college’ (insane asylum).
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 185: Either build an Asylum in every Block or else liberate the present Inmates of all the Nut-Colleges.
[US]Warren Sheaf (Marshall Co., MN) 7 July 10/2: Insanity is a positive term [...] in a nut college.
Liberal Democrat (KN) 9 Mar. 5/2: The smart men who lecture on wiasdom are, maybe, the ones who ought to be caged in ‘nut colleges’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 51: nut college – The funny farm.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 273: The crazy one might [...] belong in a nut college or nuthouse.
nut factory (n.)

(Aus./US) a psychiatric institution.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 129: His failure to land the Melancholy Dane in a nut factory at the wind-up of the play.
[UK]Chillicothe (MO) Constitution 10 May 4/3: ‘He says he’d rather go to the electric gallows than to an insane asylum.’ ‘They call them nut factories don’t they, Miss Chunky?’.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 96: They ain’t no place but the nut factory for her.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 6 Jan. 8/4: There is another candidate for the Nut Factory. Bill S. has taken on work.
[US]A. Baer Two and Three 18 Jan. [synd. col.] It looks more like a nut factory and acts like a comic academy.
[US]N. Klein ‘Hobo Lingo’ in AS I:12 652: Nut factory—hospital for insane.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 154: They were not all there, They should have been in the ‘nut factory’.
[US]Hi Henry Brown [song title] Nut Factory Blues.
[UK]K. Mackenzie Living Rough 243: We must be in some nut factory [...] All the people here are nuts.
[US]P. Wylie Generation of Vipers 92: It will very likely cause you to cork off screaming to the nut factory.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 28 Sept. 3/3: My small nephew [...] said he thought someone was ‘bughouse’ [...] ‘That means he belongs in a nut factory’.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 51: A psychiatric hospital is a ‘shrink klink’, ‘giggle bin’, ‘nut factory’ or ‘peanut factory’.
nut farm (n.)

(US) a psychiatric institution.

[US]Boston Globe Sun. Mag. 21 Dec. 7–8: In addition [at Princeton] there are the ‘nutfarm,’ one who has extraordinary eccentricities.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald Last Tycoon 12: Some mystic... spouting tripe that’d land him on a nut-farm anywhere outside of California.
nut foundry (n.)

(US) a psychiatric institution.

[US]News & Courier (Charleston, SC) 14 Apr. 18/2: If they nail me [...] it’ll sure be me for a purple ticket to the nut foundry.
W.S. Hart Golden West Boys 302: I’m plumb locoed an’ b’long into a padded cell up to the nut- foundry!
[US]Flynn’s mag. 4 June n.p.: Settled in the boob house, the nut foundry [DU].
[US] in R.E. Weinberg et al. Tough Guys (1993) 134: So now he’s trying to sock me in the nut foundry! [HDAS].
nut hatch (n.) [? underpinned by the well-known asylum at Colney Hatch near London, opened in 1851]

(orig. US) a psychiatric institution.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US]R. Dougherty Commissioner 337: Is this a nuthatch or ain’t it?
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 425: You better get ahold of yourself or you’re going to wake up and find yourself in a nut-hatch one day.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 717: The sheriff had sent him away to the nuthatch.
[US]S. King It (1987) 430: I just don’t want to be involved in something that will land me in the nuthatch.
nut house (n.)

see separate entry.

nut hut (n.)

a psychiatric institution.

story title at Vacations From the Nut Hut: Another Insanity Story. A Small Bit of Madness by SpamWarrior.
nut place (n.)

(US) a psychiatric institution.

[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 95: You’ll be sending me to the nut place – what’s it – yeah, the lunatic asylum.
nut ward (n.)

1. (US) a psychiatric unit.

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 6: [caption] Nut Ward.
[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 30/1: NUT WARD. Insanity ward of the prison hospital.
[US](con. 1944) J.H. Burns Gallery (1948) 29: Watch that talk, [...] First thing you know, you’ll be in the nut ward of the Forty-fifth with a Messiah complex.
[US]Kerouac letter 30 Nov. in Charters II (1999) 86: I am vast endless nakedheaded giant cloud making no sense even to members of the nut ward.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 2: He had at last got free of the nut ward.
[US]D. Ponicsan Cinderella Liberty 43: Would you like to visit our nut ward?
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 333: The corpsman [...] whispered to each other that I should be topside — on the nut ward.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 151: You’re nutward material, Angelo, thats what you are.
nut wing (n.)

(US prison) the psychiatric wing.

[US](con. 1998–2000) J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 5: Macaroni and cheese must signify Happy Hour here on the nut wing of the Las Vegas county jail.

In phrases

nuts and sluts (n.)

(US campus) a course in abnormal psychology.

[US]W. Safire What’s The Good Word? 300: More recent examples [of nicknames for courses] are astronomy’s ‘Stars for Studs,’ art’s ‘Nudes for Dudes,’ psychology’s ‘Nuts and Sluts,’ European civilization’s ‘Plato to NATO,’ anthropology’s ‘Monkeys to Junkies,’ and comparative religion’s ‘Gods for Clods’.
Reel-Time 🌐 Why did I waste the spring term of my sophomore year playing backgammon [...] Why didn’t I take Abnormal Psychology, aka ‘Nuts and Sluts?’.