- the shell of a nut.
- in a nutshell, in very brief form; in a few words: Just tell me the story in a nutshell.
- the shell around the kernel of a nut
- in a nutshell in essence; briefly
c.1200, nute-scalen; see nut + shell (n.). Figurative use with reference to “great condensation” (1570s) supposedly originally is a reference to a copy of the “Iliad,” mentioned by Pliny, which was so small it could fit into the shell of a nut.
see in a nutshell.