tough nut crack


a dry fruit consisting of an edible kernel or meat enclosed in a woody or leathery shell.
the kernel itself.
Botany. a hard, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit, as the chestnut or the acorn.
any of various devices or ornaments resembling a nut.
a block, usually of metal and generally square or hexagonal, perforated with a threaded hole so that it can be screwed down on a bolt to hold together objects through which the bolt passes.
Slang. the head.
a person who is very enthusiastic about something; buff; enthusiast; devotee: He's a real circus nut.
an extremely concerned or zealous person: My boss is a nut on double-checking everything.
a foolish, silly, or eccentric person.
an insane person; psychotic.
Slang: Vulgar. a testis.
the operating expenses, usually figured weekly, of a theatrical production or other commercial enterprise; a break-even point.
the total cost of producing a theatrical production or of forming and opening any new business venture.
the ledge, as of ebony, at the upper end of the fingerboard, over which the strings pass.
the movable piece at the lower end of the bow, by means of which the hairs may be slackened or tightened.
Printing. en ( def 2 ).
verb (used without object), nutted, nutting.
to seek for or gather nuts: to go nutting in late autumn.
from soup to nuts. soup ( def 7 ).
hard nut to crack,
a problem difficult to solve; a formidable undertaking.
a person difficult to know, understand, or convince.
Also, tough nut to crack.
off one's nut, Slang.
Sometimes Offensive. foolish, silly, or insane.
confused; unreasonable.
mistaken or wrong: You're off your nut if you think such a plan can succeed.

before 900; 1900–05 for def 8b; Middle English nute, Old English hnutu; cognate with Dutch noot, German Nuss, Old Norse hnot; akin to Latin nux

nutlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
nut (nʌt)
1.  a dry one-seeded indehiscent fruit that usually possesses a woody wall
2.  (not in technical use) any similar fruit, such as the walnut, having a hard shell and an edible kernel
3.  the edible kernel of such a fruit
4.  slang
 a.  an eccentric person
 b.  a person who is mentally disturbed
5.  a slang word for head
6.  slang (Brit) do one's nut to be extremely angry; go into a rage
7.  slang off one's nut mad, crazy, or foolish
8.  a person or thing that presents difficulties (esp in the phrase a toughorhard nut to crack)
9.  a small square or hexagonal block, usu. metal, with a threaded hole through the middle for screwing on the end of a bolt
10.  mountaineering Also called: chock a variously shaped small metal block, usually a wedge or hexagonal prism (originally an ordinary engineer's nut) with a wire or rope loop attached, for jamming into a crack to provide security
11.  music Also called (US and Canadian): frog
 a.  the ledge or ridge at the upper end of the fingerboard of a violin, cello, etc, over which the strings pass to the tuning pegs
 b.  the end of a violin bow that is held by the player
12.  printing another word for en
13.  a small usually gingery biscuit
14.  (Brit) a small piece of coal
vb , nuts, nutting, nutted
15.  (intr) to gather nuts
16.  slang (tr) to butt (someone) with the head
[Old English hnutu; related to Old Norse hnot, Old High German hnuz (German Nuss)]

abbreviation for
National Union of Teachers

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"hard seed," O.E. hnutu, from P.Gmc. *khnut- (cf. O.N. hnot, Du. noot, O.H.G. hnuz, Ger. nuß "nut"), from PIE *knu- "lump" (cf. L. nux, see nucleus). Sense of "testicle" is attested from 1915. Nuts as a derisive retort is attested from 1931. The nut that goes onto
a bolt is first recorded 1611 (used of other small mechanical pieces since 1426). Amer.Eng. slang sense of "amount of money required for something" is first recorded 1912. Nuts and bolts "fundamentals" is from 1960.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
nut   (nŭt)  Pronunciation Key 
A dry, indehiscent simple fruit consisting of one seed surrounded by a hard and thick pericarp (fruit wall). The seed does not adhere to the pericarp but is connected to it by the funiculus. A nut is similar to an achene but larger. Acorns, beechnuts, chestnuts, and hazelnuts are true nuts. Informally, other edible seeds or dry fruits enclosed in a hard or leathery shell are also called nuts, though they are not true nuts. For instance, an almond kernel is actually the seed of a drupe. Its familiar whitish shell is an endocarp found within the greenish fruit of the almond tree. Peanuts are actually individual seeds from a seed pod called a legume.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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