Driving Me Nuts – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone that their behavior, actions, or words make you angry? Maybe you’re looking for a way to say that your computer glitching is getting irritating? If so, you could say it’s “driving me nuts” to voice your frustration. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The expression “driving me nuts” means that someone or something is becoming increasingly irritating and frustrating to you. It could be your kids driving you nuts, your partner, a friend, a colleague, or boss – even the cashier at the local supermarket.

An object like a faulty computer or a busted couch could also drive you nuts. The expression comes with varying degrees of conviction by the speaker.

Sometimes, something that’s mildly irritating can be driving you nuts. Other times, it may be something causing you large amounts of frustration that’s driving you nuts, to the point of losing your mind or temper.

It’s common for people to replace the “nuts” in the idiom with other fruit, like bananas, or with other objects or slang, like “bonkers” and “crazy.” However, these changes don’t cause any shift in the meaning of the saying. It’s as effective in any form, and most people will understand what you’re saying.

Example Usage

“I’ve been working on this math problem for the last four hours. It’s driving me nuts. I can’t find a solution no matter what I try.”

“Your behavior is driving me nuts. Just sit down and be quiet.”

“Waiting for the results is driving me nuts. I can’t take the suspense, and it’s eating me from the inside out with anticipation.”

“This person’s tweets are driving me nuts. Why can’t the moderators see it and just ban the guy for what he’s saying to me?”

“The wait for this part from Japan is driving me nuts. With supply chains  broken, it’s taking forever to get here.”

“Your behavior is driving me nuts. Why do you have to constantly try to test my patience with this?”

“Stop it! You’re driving your father nuts with your yelling and screaming.”

Origin

The word “nut” was a slang term for the head by the mid-1800s, as in “use your nut.” By the end of the 1800s, it was associated with someone mentally unstable or a “nutter.” The word started as English slang, moving across the Atlantic to the Americas.

The earliest written record of the expression comes from the Indiana Daily Times newspaper, from an article published in 1921.

The topic of discussion was “Women Are More Careful Than Men in Driving Car.” The report allegedly asked a law enforcement officer about driving behavior in women, to which he replied, “He threw up his hands and backed away. ‘They drive me nuts,’ he groaned.”

Phrases Similar to Driving Me Nuts

  • Driving me crazy.
  • Going bananas.
  • Making my blood boil.
  • Racecar in the red.

Phrases Opposite to Driving Me Nuts

  • Feelings of clam.
  • Cool as a cucumber.
  • No stress.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Driving me nuts.

Ways People May Say Driving Me Nuts Incorrectly

The saying has nothing to do with nuts. The nuts in this expression refer to feelings of frustration and anger. Using the phrase to describe a minor frustration is incorrect. It suits situations where people are feeling extreme distress.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Driving Me Nuts

You can use the expression “driving me nuts” when you’re trying to tell someone that you’re feeling pressure from something in your life. It could be anguish brought on by another person’s actions or behavior. Or it could be due to accumulated stress caused by the failure of an inanimate object.

The phrase suits social and professional use. You could use it at the office to describe how a customer is frustrating you with their lack of commitment to a deal. Or you could use it at home to explain how your computer keeps crashing, causing you frustration.

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