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wing nut

noun
1.
a nut having two flat, widely projecting pieces such that it can be readily tightened with the thumb and forefinger.
Also, wingnut.
Also called butterfly nut, thumbnut.
Origin
1895-1900
1895-1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for wingnut

wing nut

noun
1.
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
n.

"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

wingnut

noun

A weird or insane person; weirdo, Nutcase: Too weird for me. You guys are wingnuts

[1980s+; probably fr wingy and nut]


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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Encyclopedia Article for wingnut

(genus Pterocarya), any of about six species of Asian trees of the walnut family (Juglandaceae). They often are 30 m (about 100 feet) tall and bear winged, edible, one-seeded nuts. One species, P. stenoptera, is planted as an ornamental. The wood of some species is used in cabinetmaking.

Learn more about wingnut with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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