Definition of nugget in US English:



  • 1A small lump of gold or other precious metal found ready-formed in the earth.

    • ‘But there are gold nuggets amid the gravel, and that's not just my opinion.’
    • ‘Will you be hunting for small objects like coins, jewelry and gold nuggets, or searching for a large cache or object?’
    • ‘As part of this dream, he sent a group off to the north to start building a sawmill, and, of course, they came back saying they had found gold nuggets.’
    • ‘This declaration resulted in gold nuggets and samples beginning to accumulate in private collections all over Russia.’
    • ‘But there may be gold nuggets at the bottom of the pan.’
    • ‘Through time, as the quartz is eroded away, the gold is concentrated as nuggets and dust in streams and erosional plains.’
    • ‘In economic terms, they are the gold nuggets in the economic mine of prosperity.’
    • ‘At one time, large nuggets of gold could be found lying on the Earth's surface.’
    • ‘Explaining the shape of gold nuggets has long been a problem, because they have neither the size nor the shape of gold fragments released from bedrock by weathering.’
    • ‘In the 1981 Sydney performance, gold nuggets, a gold boomerang, and a live diamond python rested on the table.’
    • ‘In January 1848, a work crew at John Sutter's mill, near Sacramento, California, came across a few select nuggets of gold.’
    • ‘The Tainos mined gold and beat the nuggets into small plates.’
    • ‘Nearby Wickenburg is a tiny town, founded in 1863 when Henry Wickenburg discovered gold nuggets in a rock formation that he called Vulture Mine.’
    • ‘It would be interesting to compile real-life statistics like this about various products as these numbers are as difficult to find as marble-sized gold nuggets in a stream.’
    • ‘The final chapter is an interesting collection of photographs of unusually shaped gold nuggets and masses.’
    • ‘The well-known hoard of chemically inert gold, whose nuggets are not sharp enough to pierce the delegate membrane of a dragon's outer hide, forms a safe and comfortable nesting place.’
    • ‘And I'll give each of you over a hundred gold nuggets to find her.’
    • ‘But it can also reward someone who tripped over a gold nugget on their way to pick up some more lumps of asphalt.’
    • ‘Gold nuggets by the pound were available from both the Lena River area of Russia as well as from Western Australia and Victoria, Australia.’
    • ‘On display are fifty-five specimens, including nuggets and crystallized gold, from worldwide localities, with emphasis on Nevada and California.’
    1. 1.1 A small chunk or lump of another substance.
      ‘tiny nuggets of chicken and shrimp’
      • ‘My daughter had her usual chicken nuggets and chips, for £3.50.’
      • ‘The Little House, at 32 Waterman Street, offers young children and their parents a play area and activities as well as favourite dishes such as cheese toasties, chicken nuggets, chips and toasted muffins.’
      • ‘Feeding is kept to the minimum, with tiny nuggets of shop bought ‘punch crumb’ or very finely liquidised bread sparingly used.’
      • ‘The large plate comes with crispy Wan Tun (a kind of hot, crispy batter), prawn toast, spring rolls, crispy seaweed, spicy lamb satay, a beef parcel and spicy meat nuggets.’
      • ‘Since the feet are the furthest point of the body from the heart, acid metabolites in blood, unused calcium and other organic substances settle on the feet, where they form tiny air bubbles and nuggets.’
      • ‘Outside the gates, a group of older students huddle round, tucking into chicken nuggets and chips from the local fast food shop.’
      • ‘The ‘dead man’ accepted nuggets of chicken and paneer!’
      • ‘The company says it has already improved its chicken nuggets, which now only contain breast meat and 30 per cent less salt.’
      • ‘The children's meals are just miniature versions of the dishes on the main menu; thankfully there are no chips or chicken nuggets in sight.’
      • ‘Good food came at a price; and more often than not, the rabble were fed on chicken nuggets and chips in a mediocre restaurant offering a ‘children's menu’.’
      lump, chunk, small piece, hunk, mass, clump, wad, gobbet, globule
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A valuable idea or fact.
      ‘nuggets of information’
      • ‘If you're able to endure this feeling of impending doom, however, there's a good chance you'll be rewarded at the end with a tiny nugget of hope and almost-joy.’
      • ‘There are some valuable nuggets to be gotten from this audio track, but to be honest they are few and far between.’
      • ‘Throughout the book, there are nuggets of gold, not to mention a completist's dream of regional brewing styles, phone numbers of breweries which accept visitors and tasting notes.’
      • ‘In Socratic style he mines the best of each perspective for the gold nugget of truth.’
      • ‘There are always nuggets of fascinating information in the annual British Social Attitudes surveys.’
      • ‘It's one of those tiny little nuggets of film magic.’
      • ‘This is a really enjoyable read, it does contain useful nuggets of information for anyone trying to live in Paris, it keeps you laughing, it will reinforce your prejudice that striking really is a the French national hobby.’
      • ‘Trivia quizzes apart, it could be argued that there is little to be gained from digesting these nuggets of information.’
      • ‘Overall, I am betting there will be at least a handful of valuable nuggets for everyone, irrespective of your experience level.’
      • ‘It does not matter that, on detailed analysis, it contained some valuable nuggets.’
      • ‘No fact is to small to overlook, no nugget of information too insignificant to discard.’
      • ‘There's wisdom in the words, and I let them settle around me, feeling as if I've been handed a nugget of something valuable, something that might apply to me.’
      • ‘While most of it was uneven, there are a few nuggets of comedy gold.’
      • ‘Their paws are poised, ready to pounce on ideas and nuggets of information.’
      • ‘The magazine, while initially short on the culture-war screeds that earned Buchanan his infamy, has provided a few nuggets one might expect from a Buchanan endeavor.’
      • ‘Intriguing and engaging, this is a ‘must’ for Roscommon folk, a veritable gold mine of rich nuggets.’
      • ‘While a few gold nuggets can be found here and there, this Goldmine is mostly a bust.’
      • ‘Spin-off projects came naturally from his ability and regular habit of recognizing valuable nuggets in random scientific observations.’
      • ‘He is an enthusiast rather than an expert, and as such he makes an eager, engaging guide, tirelessly scattering nuggets of fact and diving with gusto into Shakespeare's writing at every opportunity.’
      • ‘Okay, now write down those valuable nuggets of wisdom, and email them to me.’


Mid 19th century: apparently from dialect nug ‘lump’, of unknown origin.