First I just want to apologize for not updating. It’s been almost TWO MONTHS!!! School has been very busy, and I like writing posts when I really think there’s something I want to talk about. I pondered this question the other day and, luckily, remembered I had a blog I could record my thoughts about it in. Please don’t hate me, and enjoy the new post!!!
“So, tell me what happened.”
“Well, it’s kind of a long story.”
“Okay, tell me what happened in a nutshell.”
I honestly have never understood why this phrase is used. Of course, it’s an idiom so it doesn’t seem as strange as it could be, but if you think about it, you’re using a metaphor of a small space where a nut is kept until cracked open and eaten.
When you say “in a nutshell”, you’re really saying “In a few, concise yet effective words”. I completely understand how that doesn’t sound as witty or normal, but I just can’t shake why the metaphor was a nutshell, of all things.
I mean, how was this phrase discovered? Was someone just really annoyed by their friend ranting on and on while eating some peanuts at a bar or saloon and told them, “Hey, just tell me what’s important. What you could fit in this here nutshell”? And how come it continued to spread? Like “Ooo, a nutshell, that’s witty! I shall use it in conversations to sound intellectual and educated!”?
Lots of questions, no answers.
Therefore, I have thought of some alternatives that are small, compact spaces that long stories or facts can be condensed to. Some are ridiculous, some make actual sense. And if anyone would like to use them as an alternative in a conversation, I would love to know how the other person reacts.
Without further adieu, THE LIST!
1.) In a locket.
If you think about, this is sensible. A small object that can similarly get the job done as the word “nutshell”. In addition, you can extend this metaphor to the point where someone is talking about something is close to their heart, and if one says “Tell me everything, in a locket”, which hangs around your neck on top of your chest, then BAM! Double meaning occurs. How poetic.
2.) In a pocket.
This makes sense for obvious reasons as well. Pockets are small compared to many other forms of storage and, more metaphorically, something that people can carry things with them in. Another double meaning! Or maybe I just like rhyming words.
3.) In a thimble.
I like this one since it really is a space amount of space accurately comparable to that of a nutshell. This is probably the closest one that can depict the same sisal image as the thought of a nutshell. Plus, like nutshell, people don’t say it as often as the words mentioned above.
Okay, so maybe all of these are ridiculous. But I digress: would they seem so ridiculous if when the phrase “in a nutshell” was coined the person used one of these words instead? Probably not.
So, do you have any other options? Any other alternatives that could get this point across? Leave a comment down below, I want to hear what you have to say!
I think this quote sums up perfectly why I made this post:
“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”- Jack Kerouac