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wing nut

a nut having two flat, widely projecting pieces such that it can be readily tightened with the thumb and forefinger.
Also called butterfly nut, thumbnut.
Origin of wing nut
1895-1900 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for wingnut

wing nut

a threaded nut tightened by hand by means of two flat lugs or wings projecting from the central body Also called butterfly nut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wingnut

"nut with flared sides for turning with the thumb and forefinger;" so called for its shape. Meaning "weird person" recorded by 1989, probably not from the literal sense but from the secondary sense of nut, influenced perhaps by slang senses of wing in wing-ding "wild party," originally "fit, spasm" (1937). An earlier, British, sense of wingnut was "person with large, protruding ears" (1986).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for wingnut

wing it

verb phrase

To improvise; extemporize; act without sufficient preparation; fake it: Winging It, Coping Without Controllers/ He was confident of his ability to wing it, adjusting to counter her responses

[first form 1933+, second 1885+; fr the notion that an actor could learn his lines in the stage's wings,or be coached while standing there; wing the part is found by 1886]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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