Definition of chestnut in English:



  • 1A glossy hard brown edible nut which develops within a bristly case and which may be roasted and eaten.

    • ‘There will be hot roasted chestnuts and other nosh from Christmas past, as well as traditional ornament-making.’
    • ‘Nowadays, most chestnuts are roasted by machines for convenience, so roasting chestnuts manually has become a dying folk craft.’
    • ‘The town centre market would consist of around ten stands or huts selling roast chestnuts, for example, Cumbrian punch, traditional sausages and pancakes.’
    • ‘A roast chestnut crusted salmon circle was perfectly cooked, tasty and fresh.’
    • ‘Dark nights, cold days, scarves and gloves, hot roasted chestnuts (at least, their aroma) and a fresh fall of snow, were all essential ingredients of a perfect Christmas.’
    • ‘To know if your chestnuts are ready to roast, give them the squeeze test: If there's a slight give between the outer shell and inside nut, it's ready.’
    • ‘Stalls selling hot roast chestnuts, doughnuts and other treats will be set up in the town centre from 11 am, and carol singers will add some extra cheer.’
    • ‘We have toffee apples, gingerbread men, roast chestnuts and all manner of pumpkin dishes created by Chef.’
    • ‘There will be amusements for children, plus hot food and roasted chestnuts.’
    • ‘Some authors have suggested that their flavour and texture are comparable with those of the chestnut or cashew nut.’
    • ‘Does she dream nostalgically of the crowds and crush of Christmas shopping in Coney Street, or roasting her chestnuts on a three-bar electric fire?’
    • ‘We boiled the Christmas pudding in the old copper and we split and roasted chestnuts on the fire.’
    • ‘Someone could have been selling hot potatoes, roast chestnuts and hot drinks.’
    • ‘The couple's winter wedding will feature carol singers and roasted chestnuts, while the bride wants to arrive in a traditional horse and carriage.’
    • ‘Why don't they sell roasted chestnuts anymore, I wonder?’
    • ‘And I can't really tell you how it was made, as I spent the entire recipe-making time chopping walnuts and chestnuts, sneaking teeny bits in every now and then.’
    • ‘If chestnuts roasting by an open fire isn't your scene, then an enterprising Yorkshire hotel has the perfect solution.’
    • ‘Roast the chestnuts in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes, until the shells burst, then cool and peel.’
    • ‘Almost equally invigorating is a poached chicken, sliced into strips atop a mound of basmati rice but bathed in a potion of tarragon and chestnuts.’
    • ‘After the goat, we eat chestnuts roasted on a boxy iron stove.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]A deep reddish-brown colour.
      [as modifier] ‘chestnut hair’
      • ‘Will had turned around quickly, thinking for sure that he had caught a glimpse of deep chestnut out of the corner of his eye.’
      • ‘Her long, wavy, thick, chestnut hair cascaded fluidly down her back.’
      • ‘With her long silky chestnut hair and a familiar twinkle in her eyes, Vivian had developed into quite an attractive young lady.’
      • ‘‘Cute, but no,’ he said congenially, his deep chestnut eyes twinkling from under the curve of his cast iron helmet.’
      • ‘The deep chestnut flanks and sides combined with the male's solid black head, red eye, and black upperparts are distinctive.’
      • ‘Her cheeks were pale and veined with dark tear-tracks, her eyes, usually a beautiful deep chestnut, were red and swollen.’
      • ‘She flung her deep chestnut hair away from her eyes.’
      • ‘Some species have white on the throat or rump areas and a few species have brighter chestnut or reddish throats.’
      • ‘One had beautiful red hair and looked quite boisterous and the other had chestnut coloured hair and she looked serious and sophisticated.’
      • ‘She ran a hand through her chestnut coloured hair.’
      • ‘The one with chestnut hair wore khaki slacks and a black trench coat, while the other, an Asian man, was dressed in all black.’
      • ‘They had the same straight chestnut hair and deep green eyes.’
      • ‘Sitting to her left was a young girl about the age of nine, with chestnut brown hair, tan skin, and liquid brown eyes.’
      • ‘He was about as tall as the other man, with shaggy blonde hair and deep chestnut brown eyes.’
      • ‘The beetle was a bulbous, chestnut coloured fellow.’
      • ‘She had a sweet smile, and her light olive skin went with deep, chestnut hair.’
      • ‘Her long, curly chestnut hair fell across her face as she thought.’
      • ‘Aside from that, he had soft and shiny chestnut hair, and warm, loving, yet mysterious deep brown eyes.’
      • ‘Their leader had chestnut colored hair with electric blue eyes that seemed both welcoming and forbidding.’
      • ‘When they removed their hats, they revealed identical chestnut hair, neatly parted in the center.’
      reddish, flaming red, flame-coloured, auburn, titian, chestnut, carroty, ginger, sandy, foxy
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    2. 1.2A horse of a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown colour, with a brown mane and tail.
      [as modifier] ‘a chestnut stallion’
      • ‘She quietly saddled a chestnut mare a few stalls down from him and walked him out of the barn.’
      • ‘The chestnut colt moved up three wide to take the lead into the first turn and was clear by two lengths as he covered the first quarter in: 23.28.’
      • ‘The chestnut colt made his debut nine months later, finishing second by a length to eventual Grade 1 winner D' Wildcat.’
      • ‘The chestnut colt is the second foal out of Grade 2 winner Prospectress, by Mining.’
      • ‘Sharon rides Andy, a chestnut Quarter Horse who has never before experienced dressage.’
      • ‘The chestnut colt also won the 2001 Tattersall Stakes as a three-year-old.’
      • ‘The sassy combination of so-called stripper music and Cabaret show tunes suits the big chestnut mare, who seemed to visibly strut and swagger through her routine.’
      • ‘The chestnut colt finished second in his racing debut on June 24.’
      • ‘The chestnut horse was bred in Kentucky by Vintage Meadow Stable.’
      • ‘The chestnut mare has won 17 of 24 career starts and has earned $4,079,820.’
      • ‘The chestnut horse won eight of 16 career starts and earned $1,261,089.’
      • ‘The chestnut filly worked in company on Wednesday, pleasing him with her effort.’
      • ‘The chestnut filly's win also gave the young female jockey her first Group 1 stakes triumph.’
      • ‘The chestnut filly was bred in Kentucky.’
      • ‘Berndon was looking at a chestnut mare with a black mane and tail and took out some coins to pay for it.’
      • ‘She watched James swing down from the saddle of his chestnut horse, whose coat was literally on fire with the colors of sunset.’
      • ‘The chestnut mare has won 14 of 16 career starts and earned $3,044,820.’
      • ‘She spun around and saw Jake galloping on a beautiful chestnut stallion towards them.’
      • ‘The chestnut colt is the last foal out of Jewell Ridge, who died on August 1.’
      • ‘The chestnut colt earned $1,009,920 for his biggest lifetime victory and instantly became a millionaire.’
      hazel, chocolate-coloured, coffee-coloured, cocoa-coloured, nut-brown
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  • 2The large European tree that produces the edible chestnut, with serrated leaves and heavy timber.

    • ‘With the coming of the spring-time I yearned only to sit under my favorite chestnut tree for a spell.’
    • ‘One damaged chestnut tree and five mature conifers had to be removed.’
    • ‘I just noticed the chestnut tree in our front yard was dying and wondered why.’
    • ‘Greece originally introduced the chestnut tree to the rest of the European community.’
    • ‘As she got nearer she saw him shaded from the sun by the leaves of the chestnut tree.’
    1. 2.1
      short for horse chestnut
    2. 2.2Used in names of trees and plants that are related to the sweet chestnut, or produce similar nuts or edible parts that resemble them, e.g. water chestnut.
      • ‘They also collected a broad variety of wild herbs, wild vegetables such as acorns, water chestnuts, and broad beans, and possibly wild rice.’
      • ‘In general, European chestnut trees haven't suffered as devastating an outbreak as their American cousins.’
      • ‘The European species of chestnut catches the disease, too, and early researchers noticed some Italian trees that seemed to have spontaneously recovered their health.’
  • 3A small horny patch on the inside of each of a horse's legs.

    • ‘The small chestnut patches on its shoulders are not always visible.’


  • an old chestnut

    • A joke, story, or subject that has become tedious and uninteresting through constant repetition.

      ‘the subject under discussion is that old chestnut, public or private financing of the arts’
      • ‘We've discovered the answer to that old chestnut.’
      • ‘‘Do you expect me to fall for that old chestnut,’ she fumed.’
      • ‘The old chestnut of ‘environmental damage’ is, of course, a favourite concern of green campaigners, and one which the UK government is keen to take on board.’
      • ‘Another barrier comes tumbling down, as that old chestnut about the Germans never making a funny comedy has to be consigned to the history book.’
      • ‘Cost is another of the old chestnuts that's brought up every so often.’
      • ‘In the past she has denied the old chestnut about women not being as funny as men but today she clearly can't be bothered fighting.’
      • ‘Things become old chestnuts because there is a certain sense to them.’
      • ‘This is an old chestnut of a story, and like the previous similar surveys it has a huge flaw which undermines the result: you don't know if the respondents are telling the truth.’
      • ‘It covers the old chestnut of paper versus computers and comes to an interesting conclusion, which I'm afraid I've kind of given away in the quote above.’
      • ‘Does that old chestnut really need explaining again?’
      funny story, jest, witticism, quip, pleasantry
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  • pull someone's chestnuts out of the fire

    • Succeed in a hazardous undertaking for someone else's benefit.

      • ‘Whatever it takes to pull his chestnuts out of the fire in Virginia.’
      • ‘For example, we have pulled your chestnuts out of the fire in two world wars that were occasioned by European diplomacy.’
      • ‘I think it'll take more than him to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.’
      • ‘As you know, part of the tens of billions of dollars that he is asking for today is to pull his chestnuts out of the fire.’
      • ‘When it comes to pulling his chestnuts out of the fire, however, the UAW leadership is at the ready.’
      • ‘So I think it's just idle to think that they can pull our chestnuts out of the fire.’


Early 16th century: from Old English chesten (from Old French chastaine, via Latin from Greek kastanea) + nut.