Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wing Nut

wing nut \ˈwiŋ-ˌnət\ noun: 1. a nut with wings that provide a grip for the thumb and finger,
2. (slang) a mentally deranged person,
3. (slang) one who advocates extreme measures or changes; radical

First written usage: circa 1900

What is the etymology behind the slang definitions of wing nut? Is it related to the use of the word nut to refer to a crazy or eccentric person?

1 comment:

Vicki Peter said...

I'd always heard it in the context of "right/left wing nut" and it never occurred to me that "wing" went with "nut" rather than with "right/left." o_o