Soup to Nuts – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for an expression describing a process from front to back? You could say that you want someone to explain it to you from “soup to nuts.” This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression “soup to nuts” is similar to the phrase “front to back” or “beginning to end.” It’s a way of telling someone that you want all the details of something that happened. It’s also a suitable phrase for describing a complete process.

From “soup to nuts” means you want someone to give you all the details and leave nothing out. You want the person to provide you with “the entire gamut” and not spare the details. If someone tells you to give them the version of events from “soup to nuts,” they are asking you for an in-depth explanation of what happened and the exact course of events leading to the outcome.

If you explain something from “soup to nuts,” you’re giving the person an honest accounting of events. However, you would provide the details without any bias or prejudice, swaying how you describe the story.

Example Usage

“I want to know everything. Tell me what happened from soup to nuts.”

“We have everything you need in our store. From soup to nuts, you’ll find everything you need for your camping trip this weekend.”

“He promised he would let us in on what’s going on. I hope he gives us all the details from soup to nuts and doesn’t leave anything out.”

“You have the complete version of the software, from soup to nuts. There’s no need to purchase any add-ons.”

“She better gives us the entire gamut and fills us in on what happened. We want to know what happened from soup to nuts.”

“There is no way we can complete this. From soup to nuts in one day is asking the impossible from the team.”

“We’re going on vacation to this hotel in the Bahamas. They promise us everything, from soup to nuts, and we won’t have to lift a finger while we’re there.”

“I need to know everything from soup to nuts if you want to retain me as legal counsel.”


The expression “soup to nuts” originates from a 1930 feature film with the same title, starring “The Three Stooges.” The saying was popular in America and the UK before the Three Stooges popularized the expression in media.

Language experts believe the saying derives from an explanation of a three-course meal at a restaurant, which would start with a soup, followed by the main course, and a nutty dessert to finish. However, there are no official records of the use of the phrase in this context.

The TV show “Mama’s Family” released an episode in 1986 titled “Soup to nuts.”

Phrases Similar to Soup to Nuts

  • From start to finish.
  • From front to back.
  • The whole enchilada.
  • The whole shebang.

Phrases Opposite to Soup to Nuts

  • Missing something.
  • Fail to finish.
  • Half-job.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Soup to nuts.

Ways People May Say Soup to Nuts Incorrectly

The saying has nothing to do with soup or nuts. The phrase describes a process from start to finish. Using it to describe food or eating is incorrect. You wouldn’t use the saying to describe someone eating a three-course meal.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Soup to Nuts

You can use the phrase “soup to nuts” when describing something in detail without missing any features. It also serves to describe complete processes. If you’re asking someone for everything from soup to nuts, you want them to include every detail of the events in a step-by-step manner.

You could use the saying with your friends when you ask them to describe a series of events. Or you could use it at work to describe a process in detail, from start to finish. It’s another way of saying you want to know all the details and don’t leave anything out.

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