You’re a Nut!

If someone calls you a “nut,” is that an insult (a disrespectful thing to say)?


A nut is a type of food that has a hard outer shell or covering that you remove to eat what is inside. Peanuts (see photo) are one kind of nut, but there are many different kinds.

But we also use “nut” to describe someone who is crazy or who behaves in a way that is strange or irrational (not reasonable or logical).

“I don’t want to go out on a date with Julie. She’s a nut.”

You can also add an “s” to “nut” and use it as an adjective:

“My uncle is nuts. He goes fishing in his boat in a T-shirt and shorts in the middle of winter!”

“Our dog went nuts in the middle of the night when some burglars tried to get into our house.”

Another way we use “nut” is to describe someone who is too interested and enthusiastic about something, someone who spends a lot of time doing or thinking about this thing.

The two most common terms are “sports nut” and “health nut.”

“Jaime is a sports nut and plays basketball after work and on weekends all year round.”

“I like watching football, basketball, hockey, and baseball whenever it’s on TV. I guess I’m a sports nut.”

“Linda is a health nut and exercises at the gym for two hours a day, six days a week.”

“Karl has a special diet and won’t eat anything that’s been cooked in animal fat. He’s a health nut.”

(Learn more about “health nuts” in Daily English 390.)

Since a nut, by definition, is someone who is TOO interested in something, it’s usually bad to be a nut about anything.

But it’s not uncommon for people to describe themselves as a health nut or sports nut to show their enthusiasm (eager interest).

So if someone calls you a nut, it’s probably not a compliment (a nice thing to say about somebody)!

(Learn about another meaning of “nut” in Cultural English 330.)


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