A Nutty Word.

I’m on a novel kick these days, a real change from memoir and historical bios.

I’m so enjoying the language, like the word chestnut, I found twice in two different books.

Not the nut roasting on an open fire, but the term for an ancient anecdote told by Grampa or Uncle Sam at every holiday, getting just a little bigger and longer each time.

Reminds me of the Lucy episode when she stands behind Ethel, lip-syncing, knowing by heart, the life story of little Ethel Mae Potter.

Abraham Lincoln was known for his chestnuts, yarns he told over and over again with renewed oomph in every telling.

Webster’s definition…a joke or story that’s become tedious because of its constant repetition; a myth, fable or legend.  

That same saga inspiring eye-rolling around the dinner table.

Oh no, not again!

Apocryphal can also be applied meaning, of doubtful authenticity though widely circulated as being true.

Richard Gere canoodling with hamsters, or The Loch Nest Monster mooning the Scottish Highlands.

Folklore, passed through generations by word of mouth.

Did your mother really meet Errol Flynn? Turned out it was his cousin who years later, miraculously turned into him.

It’s like my ex, after he had had a few belts saying, that he ate lunch every Saturday with Yoko Ono at a popular Japanese restaurant.  Yes, they both sat at the sushi bar, but at opposite ends, never exchanging a word.

Another woman I once worked for told me she too had lunch, but with Alec Baldwin. What she didn’t mention was, so did 300 others because it was a charity event in The Hamptons.

Chestnuts are usually harmless exaggerations meant to entertain.

Oral history with a twinkle…an old wives’ tale, with a wink.




About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in alcohol, Books, food, History, humanity, media, New York City, readng, words, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Nutty Word.

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, my family is known for telling and retelling chestnuts. We inherited the ability from my father who will be 91 in a few weeks. He still drives, mows his lawn, and does woodworking. My grandfather, dad’s father, was known for his whoppers. So the chestnuts don’t fall far from the tree.
    I’ve heard the word ‘apocryphal’ before but don’t remember seeing it in print. And I never knew the meaning. I believe you were either a reading or history teacher in a past life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m curious how chestnut got that meaning. I first learned it in The Hobbit, when they’re telling riddles and one of them would tell a very easy one. You don’t see that word around much anymore in that meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My ex-father-in-law was the king of chestnuts. As soon as he started you headed to the bar.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would never do such a thing…though there was that one time…

    Liked by 1 person

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