Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nuts adj.

[Partridge suggests sweet as a nut, thus ‘sweet on’]

1. fond of, fascinated by; usu. in phrs. below: earlier usage is primarily nuts upon and then nuts on adj., 20C+ usage is most commonly nuts about and influenced by sense 2 here, crazy.

implied in nuts upon
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Nuts. Fond; pleased. She’s nuts upon her cull; she’s pleased with her cully.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1811].
[UK]‘Cock-Eyed Sukey’ in Cove in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 219: O, Sukey, Sukey, cock-eyed dear! / I’m blow’d but I will nuts remain.

2. (also nertz) insane, mad, crazy; in weaker sense very keen, enthusiastic (see cite 1919).

[US]R.H. Dana Two Years before the Mast (1992) 219: We [...] found them waiting on the beach, and a little afraid about going off, as the surf was running very high. This was nuts to us.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 75: Vhy, Owen ... you knows it’s no use of me being nuts, ven the donna’s only nut crackers.
[UK]C. Deveureux Venus in India I 81: Why! it is her way of paying him off for his brutal conduct to her, to give him nuts, by writing and telling him how nicely she is dragging his name through the mud!
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 107: Half the world are squirrels and the other half are nuts.
[US]Sun (NY) 22 Dec. 56/3: I know the doctors call us ‘nuts’ — / [...] / There’s Harry, nerves all gone, all gone.
[US]Perrysburg Jrnl (Wood Co., OH) 22 May 2/2: I am just Nuts to tear into the Sweet Home racket with ivy round the door.
[US](con. 1880s) H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 227: ‘Them guys must be nuts,’ he peevishly told a detective.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 105: The guy playin’ the guitar is standin’ over in the far corner lookin’ like he was nuts.
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 44: Crazy, demented, nuts — mad Englishman!
[US]W. Winchell 24 Apr. [synd. col.] The mag boss told him was nertz to give up a $20,000 a year job.
[UK]F. Norman Fings I i: Mustn’t I be nuts? / I’m scrubbin’ me poor guts.
[US]A. Hoffman Property Of (1978) 55: You’re just acting nuts.
[Oth]D. Marechera House of Hunger (2013) [ebook] [H]e let it be known that Edmund’s mother was a ‘common drunken whore’ and that he, Stephen, had screwed her nuts.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 102: ‘You’re nuts,’ Tina said.
[Aus]P. Doyle (con. late 1950s) Amaze Your Friends (2019) 88: ‘So how are you [...] in your head? You really nuts?’.
[US]K. Anderson Night Dogs 84: ‘He was a little nuts…’ ‘He thought white people were shooting him in the ass with lasers. I’d say he was a twelve-gauge psychotic’.
[UK]Observer Mag. 12 Sept. 14: Everyone thought we were totally nuts.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 9: I tried to help Greta but she was nuts.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 138: I’m in this holding cell, right, going fuckin’ nuts.
[US]N. Walker Cherry 293: ‘You want to have a fistfight with a fucking baby in the car? What are you, fucking nuts?’.
[US]J. Hannaham Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit 42: I hope he not as nuts as I was then.

In phrases

drive someone nuts (v.)

to drive crazy, insane.

[US]Indianapolis Star (IN) 15 June 70/5: ‘Did you,’ he asked [...] ‘I did,’ I acknowledged, ‘and it drove me nuts’.
Monroe News-Star (Monroe, LA) 12 Oct. 5/7: I ripped [the curtain] down my first day. Got in my way. Drove me nuts.
[US]N. West ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ in Coll. Works (1975) 266: All I have to do is point to some big guy and say, ‘Gee, I’d love to have him love me up.’ It drives him nuts.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald ‘Teamed with Genius’ in Pat Hobby Stories (1967) 73: It’s enough to drive you nuts.
[UK]J. Curtis Look Long Upon a Monkey 59: Nothing’s so certain to drive them nuts as the far-famed playing hard to get.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 16 Feb. in Proud Highway (1997) 322: I think it would drive Beverly nuts.
[UK]Rolling Stones ‘Mixed Emotions’ 🎵 This to-ing and fro-ing / Is driving me nuts.
[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 45: We drove the teachers nuts.
[UK]Observer Rev. 27 June 4: It’s driving me nuts.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 59: The remote always seemed to be missing when he got downstairs, and that drove him nuts.
go nuts (v.)

to lose emotional control, to go crazy; to make a fuss.

[US]Hopper & Bechdolt ‘9009’ (1909) 65: ‘What’s got into me?’ whispered 9009; ‘am I going nuts?’.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 67: He gets a little money and he goes nuts.
[US](con. 1900s–10s) Dos Passos 42nd Parallel in USA (1966) 107: This way he was going nuts.
[UK] H.G. Wells Babes in Darkling Wood 354: While I have been a special case for mental treatment, it seems odd that Old England, generally speaking, has gone nuts .
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 155: The union oughtta give yaone so yawont go nuts just sittin around here doin nothing.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 334: I’m going nuts seeing you with everyone else!
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 14: When I told Cal what had happened and described the woman’s lifestyle, he went nuts.
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] Vin’s idea was that Danny might go nuts and nail Scullin for him.
[UK]Z. Smith White Teeth 22: Unless he was really going nuts, Archie saw that come hither look.
[US](con. 1998–2000) J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 23: The bench dawgs, of course, go nuts at the sight of a suit — not to mention my corporate-issue black wing tips.
[US]T. Piccirilli Last Kind Words 137: ‘Mal, people who are going nuts don’t think they’re going nuts’.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Sunset’ in Broken 212: For a third [reason] he’s going nuts.
like nuts (adv.)


[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 8 Aug. [synd. col.] Pittsburgher Eugenie Baird [...] yelling like nuts when the Pirates took that double-header from the Gyntz.
[US]J. Kirkwood There Must Be a Pony! 62: We drove off, waving and hollering goodbyes and carrying on like nuts.
nuts about (adj.) (also nuts for, nuts over) [later chronology means it was strongly influenced by sense 2 above and the SE phr. crazy about]

obsessed with, usu. in the context of love.

[US]Mansfield (OH) News 7 Dec. 10(?)/3: The Clean Language League of America, which is plum nuts about being dead set against slang [etc.].
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 8 May 12/1: One fair thing was ‘nuts’ over Percy.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Harmony’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 187: He went so nuts over it [i.e. harmonizing] that he got Mike to come and room in the same house with him.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 93: He’s Nuts about Flowers and keeps a fresh Bouquet on his Desk all the time.
[US]R. Lardner Big Town iii: The woman’s nuts over me.
[UK]E. Glyn Flirt and Flapper 41: Here comes a new boy-friend who’s just nuts over me.
[US]C. Himes ‘Prison Mass’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 165: Funny, he philosophized, how he had gone nuts over Chicken. [Ibid.] ‘His Last Day’ 293: A frail [...] whom he had gone nuts over the night before.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Goldfish’ in Red Wind (1946) 170: You might be able to ease in on the goldfish angle. They say he’s nuts about them.
[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 90: I’m nuts about you.
[US]E. Dundy Dud Avocado (1960) 149: There’s a great big Canadian around the Left Bank who’s nuts about you.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 17: Smiler’s nuts about cricket.
[Ire](con. 1930s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 143: It was widely known among the observant women that Sloppy Molly was nuts about her father’s new assistant.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 210: Abdul is nuts about her.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 56: Khop, meanwhile, is obviously nuts about Trey.
[US]R. Price Lush Life 111: ‘This stinks,’ Matty said again. ‘I’m not nuts about it either,‘ Flaherty said.
nuts around (v.) (also nuts about)(US)

1. to wander around aimlessly.

[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 77: ‘What was Kodadek doin’ the last time you seen him?’ ‘You mean Dropkick? He was nutsin’ around.’.

2. to mess about, to fool around.

[US]N. Algren Never Come Morning (1988) 23: They wouldn’t have no good place to nuts around, like us guys.
nuts upon (adj.)

obsessed with, in love with, gratified or pleased with.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: The blowen was nutts upon the Kiddey because he is well-hung; the girl is pleased with the youth because his genitals are large.
[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 255: nuts upon it to be very much pleased or gratified with any object, adventure, or overture; so a person who conceives a strong inclination for another of the opposite sex, is said to be quite nutty, or nuts upon him or her. nuts upon yourself a man who is much gratified with any bargain he has made, narrow escape he has had, or other event in which he is interested, will express his self-satisfaction or gladness by declaring that he is, or was, quite nuts upon himself.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1812].
[UK]Satirist (London) 20 Jan. 445/1: Gloucester, who is nuts upon his knowledge of the game, was one of the party.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 243: A lady down Kensington wot was werry nuts upon poodles.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 28 Mar. 4/3: Johnny and Gregory were nuts on their pet, the Pup .
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 288: Davies was ‘dead nuts’ upon cutting men’s hair.