According to Merriam-Webster, it is "a mentally deranged person" or "one who advocates extreme measures or changes: radical." In American politics, the term is more often aimed at members of the political right than those of the political left, for which the alternative term "moonbat" is more often used. David M. Herszenhorn of The New York Times has defined a "wing nut" as "a loud darling of cable television and talk radio whose remarks are outrageous but often serious enough not to be dismissed entirely." In his book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America author and columnist John Avlon defined a wingnut as, "someone on the far-right wing or far-left wing of the political spectrum—the professional partisans, the unhinged activists and the paranoid conspiracy theorists. They're the people who always try to divide rather than unite us".
- "wing nut"
- Moon Bats & Wing Nuts. Time magazine, which advanced its publication day in order to compete with the Friday-night fights, carried an unusually combative Joe Klein column recently jabbing at “left-wing blognuts and conservative wingnuts.” He popped Eli Pariser, executive director of the liberal MoveOn.org, as “the nation’s blognut in chief” and Vice President Cheney as “the nation’s wingnut in chief.” Just before the bell, the newsmagazine pugilist in chief landed a right cross to “The Wall Street Journal’s quasi-wingnut editorial page” and strode to his corner with a Parthian cavil at “the chest thumping of the various blognut extremists.”
- Alan Grayson, the Liberals’ Problem Child, David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times, 2009-10-31
- R.M., Six questions for John Avlon , The Economist, 2010-5-16
- The dictionary definition of wingnut at Wiktionary