What Does it Mean to be Called a Nut?

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Have you ever heard of the “Nutty Professor?” Has anyone ever said you were nuts?

Calling someone a “nut” in English can be an insult. It means that person is crazy or acting in an insane manner.

But, just like the word “crazy,” there are times when it can be a good thing. For example: “I’m crazy in love with you” is probably a good thing.

Similarly, you could say “I’m nuts about you,” which means I like or love you A LOT.

Here are some example sentences in which “nut” or “nuts” may be an insult (a bad thing) or a way of saying someone is crazy or insane:

“Wow, your boss is totally nuts.”

“I can’t believe he said that. That is nuts!”

There are also variants of this word which have a similar, negative meaning:

“Don’t talk to him. He’s totally nutso.”

“Don’t ask her out to dinner. She’s a real nutjob.”

There are also phrases from go + nuts, such as:

“Be careful! Your roommate is going nuts.”

“I’m sorry but your boyfriend has gone completely nuts.”

The insult of “nuts” can be made a little less intense by changing it to “nutty.” This might mean the person is a little weird or different. Here’s an example:

“I like your brother, I really do. He’s just a little bit nutty.”

Lastly, let’s not forget there are times when being crazy for something is a good thing. Like being crazy for healthy food or exercise. We might say:

“Wow I didn’t know David was such a health food nut.”

“He’s really nuts about his new job.”

“Saul is a crazy good artist.” (“Crazy” here acts like an adverb, similar to “very”)

My high school Spanish teacher always called us his “bag of mixed nuts.” Mixed nuts are the nuts you buy from the supermarket and eat. He meant that in a nice way, as in we were crazy but he liked us.

Here are some other slang synonyms for nuts: wacko (adj/noun), psycho (adj/noun), loony (adj/noun), weirdo (noun), freak (noun), maniac (noun), messed up (adj), cray cray (adj)

Here are some images we found online when we typed “crazy nut”:

Halloween: What does it mean to “go trick-or-treating”?

Halloween is one of the most beloved of American holidays for children and many adults alike. It is officially October 31 every year. However, in recent years, the custom of going from house to house to collect candy has sometimes been moved to a different night (e.g. October 30, November 1, etc.) for different reasons.

Candy or sweets can be called “treats.” At each house, the child in a costume knocks on the door and, when the door is opened, the child often says “trick or treat!” Or they may say: “trick or treat, trick or treat, give me something good to eat!” We also call the action of going from house to house “trick-or-treating.”

The meaning of the phrase “trick or treat” is actually kind of a threat! It means if the child does not receive candy, he or she will play some kind of trick on the people. Actually, the child (normally) has no plans to do anything bad or play any tricks if they don’t get candy — it is just a fun expression. However, some people do not provide candy to children and may simply choose not to answer their door.

If you are living in America, we do encourage you to buy candy ahead of time and plan to answer your door and give a couple pieces of candy to each child. It is a fun part of American culture!

When do you get a second wind? More idioms from sports

Last week we discussed how many English idioms come from sports (. This week’s idiom — “getting a second wind” — is originally from sailing but many people today use it in connection to running.

A “second wind” was an extra wind for a sailboat that helped to win a sailing race. However, today, most people associate this idiom with RUNNING. This is because, after getting tired in the middle of a race, many racers see (or think about) the finish line and it BOOSTS their MOTIVATION and energy. Even though they have been running for a long distance and are tired, they suddenly find the energy to run as fast as they can to the finish line.

But we can also use this idiom today for any activity or situation in which you became tired but then found the strength to push on and finish up STRONG.

Example: I worked a huge 55-hour work week and by Friday night when I got home I was EXHAUSTED. But after eating a good dinner, I got a second wind and was able to clean up my entire house.”

WINTER-TIME IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS

It’s that time of year again here in Atlanta where the weather turns very cold and we even get some snow (usually in January or February). There are a lot of idioms in English related to the snow and winter. Below are just a few you might enjoy. If you want to learn even more, come study at our accredited ESL school!

snowball’s chance in hell – to be very unlikely to succeed at something

ex: The little boat had a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving the storm.

dead of winter – the coldest, darkest part of winter

ex: It feels like the dead of winter out there.

to be on thin ice – to be in a risky situation

ex: If you keep asking him about his ex-girlfriend, you’ll be on thin ice. He’ll probably start yelling at you.

pure as the driven snow – to be innocent and chaste (frequently used ironically)

ex: Madonna isn’t exactly pure as the driven snow, but the book she wrote is excellent!

to break the ice – to create a more friendly and relaxed atmosphere

ex: Alexandra is great at breaking the ice, she always knows what to say to people.

to run hot and cold – to be unable to make up one’s mind

ex: David’s feelings about Lisa run hot and cold; one minute he loves her, and the next, he’s bored of her.

Idioms to be Thankful for, Turkey!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are three funny English idioms which use the word “turkey.”

talk turkey: Now that we bought this new house we need to talk turkey. It is going to be a lot more expensive and we may need to cut back on other things.    (to discuss a serious matter, to talk business)

go cold turkey: Quitting smoking is difficult. I suggest you just go for it and do it cold turkey. Make that your last cigarette!    (to give up or stop doing something abruptly)

to be a turkey: Who is the turkey that left the coca-cola in the freezer? It exploded and left a mess all over the place!    (to be an idiot or fool)

Have a great holiday!!!