use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

nut (nŭt)
Share:
n.
1.
a. An indehiscent fruit having a single seed enclosed in a hard shell, such as an acorn or hazelnut.
b. The usually edible seed of such a fruit.
c. Any of various other usually edible seeds enclosed in a hard covering such as a seed coat or the stone of a drupe, as in a pine nut, peanut, almond, or walnut.
2. Slang
a. A crazy or eccentric person.
b. An enthusiast; a buff: a movie nut.
3. Informal A difficult endeavor or problem: Painting the closet was a tough nut to crack.
4. Slang The human head.
5. Music
a. A ridge of wood at the top of the fingerboard or neck of a stringed instrument, over which the strings pass.
b. A device at the lower end of the bow for a stringed instrument, used for tightening the hairs.
6. A small block of metal or wood with a central, threaded hole that is designed to fit around and secure a bolt or screw.
7. Slang
a. The cost of launching a business venture.
b. The operating expenses of a theater, theatrical production, or similar enterprise: "The [theater] has simply failed to attract enough paying customers per week to meet its nut" (Variety).
8. Vulgar Slang A testicle.
intr.v. nut·ted, nut·ting, nuts
1. To gather or hunt for nuts.
2. Vulgar Slang To ejaculate.

[Middle English nute, from Old English hnutu.]
(click for a larger image)
nut
Clockwise from top: T-nut, hex cap nut, wingnut, and hex nut

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.