in a nutshell


The expression refers to the tidy, compact package.


Calque of Latin in nuce.


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in a nutshell

  1. (idiomatic) In summary; briefly or simply.
    He had a lot to say, but his answer, in a nutshell, was no.
    • 2019, Daniel Taylor, Lionel Messi magic puts Barcelona in command of semi-final with Liverpool (in The Guardian, 1 May 2019)[1]
      Sadio Mané wasted a glorious chance in the first half and, late on, Mohamed Salah turned his shot against a post after a goal-line clearance had spun his way. That, in a nutshell, perhaps sums up the difference between Messi and the players on the next rung below – the ones who can be described as great footballers without necessarily being football greats.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], OCLC 1042815524, part I:
      The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut.