I was watching comedy series, Man Seeking Woman.

A group of people was discussing what to text a girl. I mean, they were discussing how to make good texts for the girl.

Researcher: If you look at the data, you will see that women are going nuts for punctuation.
A woman: That is true.
Researcher: Exclamation points, in particular. I would... I would suggest 50.
General : Fifty? So now we're screaming at her?

Here is a video clip for the scene at 1:13.

I knew go nuts means become angry. So if using the punctuation makes her angry, we shouldn't use. However, the researcher suggested to use 50 exclamation points like this: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is this situation?

  • 21
    I've always thought "go nuts" meant "go crazy" - ie. not necessarily angry; but also unhinged, become unpredictable, ranting, doing strange things. Actually the same is the case for another such word - "mad" - which means "mentally ill"... but is also often used for "becoming very angry". Mar 8, 2017 at 17:51
  • 9
    To put it simply, "go nuts" = "become passionate". And passionate can mean angry, excited, in love, frustrated... etc. "Go nuts" can also mean "go all the way", or "do as much as you want."
    – Mentalist
    Mar 8, 2017 at 21:22
  • 4
    Child: "Mom, may I jump off this bridge?". Mom: "Sure, go nuts."
    – MonkeyZeus
    Mar 9, 2017 at 16:46
  • 2
    @BaardKopperud That's correct, it literally means to 'go crazy', which can be enthusiastic about something, as in 'they go nuts for chocolate,' or it can mean angry/upset, 'someone smashed their rearview mirror and they went nuts.'
    – jfa
    Mar 9, 2017 at 17:35
  • 1
    If anything, I'd argue "become angry" is one of the least common meanings of this phrase.
    – user428517
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:08

6 Answers 6


Let's break down the scene:

Researcher: If you look at the data, you will see that women are going nuts for punctuation.

The phrase "going nuts" can either mean that someone is very angry and may be hitting, smashing, throwing things or hurting others, but it could also mean that someone really likes something; that they are enthusiastic about something. In this case, the word that is key is the word "for" after the phrase "going nuts." That usually means that this is the excited use of the phrase. Some examples of people being excited would be:

  • I go nuts for chocolate ice cream!
  • The crowd went nuts after their team scored a goal.

As for the angry use of the phrase:

  • After being kicked in the face, John went nuts.
  • The crowd went nuts after their team was scored on.

The confusing thing is the sentences about the crowds. If a team scores a goal, the crowd of the winning team will go nuts (they are jumping up and down and celebrating), while the crowd of the losing team will go nuts (they are angry, shouting, kicking things over). It all depends on the context of the rest of the sentence.

In the show, the researcher is trying to help the man text a woman. So, he suggests he use punctuation. The funny part is, he suggests too many exclamation marks, so much so that the text would make the man come off like he is shouting at her (which is not what the man wants).

A woman: That is true.

Researcher: Exclamation points, in particular. I would... I would suggest 50.

General : Fifty? So now we're screaming at her?

Sidenote: I think I found a new show to watch :)

  • 4
    @magentar 'their team was scored on' is this a commonly used phrase? Sounds strange in BrEng. it sound more natural to say 'their team conceded'.
    – The Cat
    Mar 9, 2017 at 15:46
  • 1
    One definition of concede is to admit or acknowledge something. The other definition means to give up. Do the brits normally give up after one goal is scored against them?
    – Shane
    Mar 9, 2017 at 16:54
  • 2
    @shane Nice try! :-) But "Concede" doesn't necessarily imply "give up" completely; in fact, in that context, it can even imply a tactical regrouping: "withdraw the challenge, concede the point and move on".
    – SusanW
    Mar 9, 2017 at 18:37
  • 1
    @SusanW Did you miss the part where i wrote "One definition of concede is to admit or acknowledge something"?
    – Shane
    Mar 9, 2017 at 21:00
  • 1
    @Shane: There was a time when 1-0 seemed like a near-insurmountable lead in a top-flight football game, but for various reasons goals are more plentiful these days. But anyway it's a stock elision, "their team conceded [a goal]". It doesn't in this context mean precisely any of the things you list, it means to allow something. Albeit not intentionally. Mar 10, 2017 at 0:57

Go nuts doesn't necessarily mean to become angry. The expression's sense depends on the context in which it is used.

According to Macmillan Dictionary, definition #2:

Go nuts:

to behave in a crazy, enthusiastic, or violent way.

A goal was scored and the crowd went nuts.

  • +1 Also, you can substitute 'gorillas', 'ballistic', 'bananas', 'wild', and 'crazy' for 'nuts'. 'Gorillas' is very new slang and 'ballistic' I think is mostly negative.
    – Jeutnarg
    Mar 9, 2017 at 21:09

Yes, there are other meanings. Most of them, including the "enthusiasm" one you mention, are derived from the use of the term "nuts" to mean "mad" or "crazy" - note that you shouldn't use any of those terms for people who are actually suffering mental illness, as they are derogatory.

To "go nuts" then, is to "go crazy". That can be crazy in any of its senses, from mental illness (derogatory, as above), to crazy with anger or crazy with excitement.

The common theme is that the person has lost control.

  • 1
    This nails it. While there are a lot of potential meanings for how to interpret the phrase, your last sentence explains how the listener can figure it out on their own.
    – Beska
    Mar 8, 2017 at 15:05
  • 2
    This should really be the accepted answer as it touches on the origins of going nuts to mean going mad.
    – Vality
    Mar 9, 2017 at 23:36

It can also mean "go ahead", sometimes sarcastically, giving someone permission to do something they've asked for.

Hey that cake looks amazing! Mind if I take a slice?

Go Nuts

This use has a similar inflection to other idioms, such as:

  • Knock yourself out
  • It's a free country
  • 2
    Here it's a hyperbolic metaphor, same with "go wild." You're not expected to actually 'go nuts.'
    – user32753
    Mar 8, 2017 at 22:05
  • 2
    @C.M.Weimer I hadn't heard that terminology before, but it succinctly describes my meaning. Thank you very much.
    – AJFaraday
    Mar 8, 2017 at 22:46

With respect to the late artist Prince, his song "let's get crazy" included the lines,

Let's go crazy Let's get nuts Look for the purple banana 'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!

No one is angry in this song.

  • Are you really trying to justify usage with reference to a line about a purple banana?
    – AndyT
    Mar 9, 2017 at 14:46
  • Yes. As I clicked onto this question, the song came on the radio, as if he were offering the answer. I will go back home to Money.SE where my knowledge is more on topic. Mar 9, 2017 at 17:14

Ashford United are a football (soccer) team with the nickname "Nuts and Bolts". So as a fan, you could legitimately encourage your team on by shouting "Go Nuts! Go Nuts!"

OK, I know it's not the answer you're looking for, in the context of the rest of the question. But it's Friday morning. :)

  • Different context, but it emphasizes the play on words here. They weren't looking for my excellent Prince quote either..... Mar 10, 2017 at 17:49

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