I don't know how to express this minor accident of mine precisely and concisely, and also sound natural in English.

I was enjoying my "Dry Roasted Pistachios", given to me as a New Year present, and one of its nutshell(?) slipped into a part of my left thumb just under the nail. It slipped hard enough so part of it was shoved into my nail about one millimeter. My thumb was bleeding a little, and it is now a little sore. Luckily, not much harm done. :-)

Then I realized that I couldn't describe what happened precisely and concisely in English, even though I could describe it very concisely in my first language (within just about 6 words). How can I describe this in English? The expression should include these followings:

  • the part of that pistachio (nutshell?)
  • the slipping or shoving action
  • (optional) the fact that the shell went in about one millimeter deep
  • the part of my thumb just under the nail (nail nook? nail cranny?)
  • I was bleeding

Thank you.

  • PS. This is my first time with pistachios. Now I know that a good way to deal with them is to use their shells against themselves. :) Jan 11, 2014 at 12:37
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    As I was cracking pistachios I accidentally stabbed myself with a shell in the quick under my thumbnail, deep enough to draw blood. Jan 11, 2014 at 12:43
  • 2
    The quick. Quick originally meant alive, as in 'the quick and the dead', and it is still used to refer to the 'living' (and acutely sensitive) flesh under the nails. Jan 11, 2014 at 13:30
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    @DamkerngT. - Don't feel bad; even Superman has trouble with pistachios. Check out the first 40 seconds of this video.
    – J.R.
    Jan 11, 2014 at 13:38
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    @J.R. Really? This is a term I've known since I was a small child. Perhaps I'm showing my age. But it's there in OALD, which doesn't go in for obscure terms. Jan 11, 2014 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


I'd just say:

I was bleeding after the pistachio shell went under my nail.

I'd also be rather tempted to name the incident for future reference. I'd suggest one of the following:

The Pistachio Incident of 2014
The Pistachio-tastrophe

Or, as @J.R. suggested, just shorten the last suggestion to the portmanteau:

The Pistastrophe

  • 3
    :^) Or, a portmanteau: The Pistastorphe.
    – J.R.
    Jan 11, 2014 at 13:44
  • @J.R. I love it!
    – godel9
    Jan 11, 2014 at 13:47
  • I love both The Pistachio Incident of 2014 and The Pistastorphe. :-) Jan 11, 2014 at 14:09

I realize this question has long since been answered by "The Great Pistachtrophe of 2014," but I'm intrigued by the puzzle of finding a succinct way to describe it in English. This is more than six words, but:

A pistachio shell jammed itself under my thumbnail, just deep enough to make me bleed.

1) the part of that pistachio: "A pistachio shell"

2) the slipping or shoving action: "jammed itself"

3) (optional) the fact that the shell went in about one millimeter deep, & 4) the part of my thumb just under the nail (nail nook? nail cranny?): "under my thumbnail, just deep enough"

There's no good word in common use for the specific part of your thumbnail that was injured (anatomically it's the "hyponychium," and only a few people might recognize it as the "quick"). However, the quick/hyponycium is implied by the fact that you bled, but did not need serious medical attention.

5) I was bleeding: "to make me bleed."

(Now I want to study Damkerng T.'s language, at least for long enough to figure how out to say this in only six words.)

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer! I can't remember exactly the six words I thought of while I was writing this question. Anyway, I think this is close enough: ถั่วทิ่มใต้เล็บเลือดซิบ ๆ (though it's 7 syllables, it's still 6 words, technically :-). Mar 17, 2015 at 23:09
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    Thanks. Sadly, Thai is well beyond me. But, if you'll forgive me for subjecting your words to Google Translate, we can get the delightfully terse and vivid, if ungrammatical and vague to the point of being incorrect, five(!) words: "Beans nail prick blood dripping." Which is how we get from the pistachio-shell version of a paper cut to Hitchcock-ian drama.
    – Evelyn
    Mar 18, 2015 at 2:36

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