Sam nodded. “In a nutshell, yes.”
She watched Jones. “And who will protect the pillars the next time the komatsus invade?”
Jaye Patrick, Huntress, 2007.
the hard shell around a nut
in a nutshell SPOKEN
used for saying that you are going to express something in a simple direct way:
To put it in a nutshell, we lost the case. [MEDA]
Idioms: (put sth) in a nutshell
(to say or express sth) in a very clear way, using few words:
To put it in a nutshell, we’re bankrupt. [OALD]
in a nutshell
using as few words as possible:
Well, to put it in a nutshell, we’re lost. [CALD]
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, II:2, 1603.
‘To be sure, to be sure!’ said the Jew, who had entered unseen by Oliver. ‘It all lies in a nutshell my dear; in a nutshell, take the Dodger’s word for it. Ha! ha! ha! He understands the catechism of his trade.’
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, 1837-38.
Then, he launched into a general eulogium on the Commons. What was to be particularly admired (he said) in the Commons, was its compactness. It was the most conveniently organized place in the world. It was the complete idea of snugness. It lay in a nutshell. For example: You brought a divorce case, or a restitution case, into the Consistory. Very good. You tried it in the Consistory.
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1850.
“And you would like to see the church, you know,” said Mr. Brooke. “It is a droll little church. And the village. It all lies in a nut-shell. By the way, it will suit you, Dorothea; for the cottages are like a row of alms-houses ー little gardens, gilly-flowers, that sort of thing.”
George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1871–72.
‘On the other hand, there was no wound upon his person, while the state of Straker’s knife would show that one, at least, of his assailants must bear his mark upon him. There you have it all in a nutshell, Watson, and if you can give me any light I shall be infinitely obliged to you.’
Conan Doyle, “Silver Blaze”, in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1892.
For what it’s worth,” said Tom, “there’s the whole thing in a nutshell.
Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine, 1957.
Gradually we compile our own anthologies of misfortune, our dictionaries of verbs and nouns, our copulas and gerundives. That symptomatic policeman of the London dusk first breathed the message to us! That kindly father-figure put the truth in a nutshell.
Lawrence Durrell, Alexandria Quartet : Clea, 1960.
“Mass-scale biological warfare. I wonder does the rest of the world know that right here in Australia between 1949 and 1952 a virus war was waged against a population of trillions upon trillions, and succeeded in obliterating it? Well! It’s feasible, isn’t it? Not simply yellow journalism at all, but scientific fact. They may as well bury their atom bombs and hydrogen bombs. I know it had to be done, it was absolutely necessary, and it’s probably the world’s most unsung major scientific achievement. But it’s terrifying, too.”
Dane had been following the conversation closely. “Biological warfare? I’ve never heard of it. What is it exactly, Ralph?”
“The words are new, Dane, but I’m a papal diplomat and the pity of it is that I must keep abreast of words like ‘biological warfare.’ In a nutshell, the term means myxomatosis. Breeding a germ capable of specifically killing and maiming only one kind of living being.”
Quite unself-consciously Dane made the Sign of the Cross, and leaned back against Ralph de Bricassart’s knees. “We had better pray, hadn’t we?”
Colleen Mccullough, The Thorn Birds, 1977.
“When a war starts people are forced to become soldiers. They carry guns and go to the front lines and have to kill soldiers on the other side. As many as they possibly can. Nobody cares whether you like killing other people or not. It’s just something you have to do. Otherwise you’re the one who gets killed.”
Johnnie Walker pointed his index finger at Nakata’s chest. “Bang!” he said. “Human history in a nutshell.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore, 2002; translated by Philip Gabriel, 2005.
‘Yes and no. It’s having to shake hands with Mickey Mouse that drives me up the wall. Americans love these Disney hotels.’
‘Don’t be mean. They remind them of their childhoods.’
‘Childhoods they didn’t actually have. What about the rest of us ー why do we have to be reminded of American childhoods?’
‘That’s the modern world in a nutshell.’ Sally sniffed her empty glass, nostrils flaring like the gills of an exotic and delicate fish. ‘At least it gets you away.’
J. G. Ballard, Millennium People, 2003.
One of the biggest hot button issues of all time has to be eugenics. In a nutshell, eugenics is the idea that humans should practice selective reproduction in an effort to “improve” the species.
Tara Rodden Robinson, Genetics for Dummies, Wiley, 2005.