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    #1

    My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    Hello everyone!
    I've come across the phrase: My family tree is full of nuts.
    As I get it, it basically means "my family is big" or "has many family members".
    I am wondering does this saying have a second meaning - the funny one? I am referring to the word "nuts".

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    It means that the persons ancestors were all mad in some way.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #3

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    The phrase has only one meaning: many of my ancestors were eccentric.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    It's just a little joke.
    It could be your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, your own kids - just lots of "craziness" but not necessarily in a pathological/clinical sense.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    The statement uses tree and nuts in two ways: first as if it were a real tree producing real nuts, second as if his relatives were crazy.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    A family tree is a genealogical diagram. A nut is both a tree seed and a crazy person.

    So the expression means that most of your relatives are crazy.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #7

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    A family tree is a genealogical diagram. A nut is both a tree seed and a crazy person.

    So the expression means that most of your relatives are crazy.
    I think most people who use the expression mean eccentric rather than crazy.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I think most people who use the expression mean eccentric rather than crazy.
    See:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuts
    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/nuts
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nuts

    So I'm not nuts.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #9

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    It can mean crazy. I think all three of those dictionaries have omitted a common use of the term. When I hear someone say their family tree is full of nuts, I do not imagine that a lot of their ancestors and relatives are or were insane. I hear it as a light-hearted way of saying they were charmingly eccentric.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: My family tree is full of nuts. What's the meaning?

    I rarely hear someone say something like "My sister is crazy" to mean their sister suffers from a recognized form of mental illness. It's rarely used in the pathological sense. What you call "charmingly eccentric" my daughter probably calls "batsh*t crazy." Both of you would perhaps laugh when you said it.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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