Definition of nod in English:

nod

verb

  • 1no object Lower and raise one's head slightly and briefly, especially in greeting, assent, or understanding, or to give someone a signal.

    ‘he looked around for support and everyone nodded’
    with object ‘she nodded her head in agreement’
    • ‘Kara nodded not knowing what to say and pushed up against him seeking a tighter embrace.’
    • ‘Unable to resist his charm and devastating smile, Blair nodded mutely in response.’
    • ‘The girl nodded mutely, turned on her heel, and ran.’
    • ‘She nodded in satisfaction and tossed a pretzel onto the middle of the table.’
    • ‘I winked, and he nodded with a big grin as I walked away.’
    • ‘They nodded in unison; the contempt in James's eyes was not missed.’
    • ‘My eyes stayed focused on the television screen, and I nodded in response.’
    • ‘She only nodded in acknowledgment, a sort of lonesome satisfaction flowing into her eyes.’
    • ‘I nodded to show I understood, and decided to unbutton the coat instead.’
    • ‘Quickly the car began to move, and Andrew nodded slightly in acknowledgement.’
    • ‘Ace nodded grimly in reply, still keeping his eyes ahead.’
    • ‘He looked around nodding slightly with a light smile.’
    • ‘She nodded curtly in response, then turned back to where she was seated, gazing at the ocean.’
    • ‘The larger man nodded in approval at Jack's action and then again at his companion.’
    • ‘The question had been more of a statement, and Chet nodded slightly in acknowledgement.’
    • ‘Emily nodded slowly in agreement while kicking a box to the corner.’
    • ‘Glancing over his shoulder, Max nodded in acknowledgment then turned back to Katharine.’
    • ‘The boy nodded mutely, tears brimming in his eyes.’
    • ‘The little girl nodded solemnly, golden curls bouncing.’
    • ‘Both men nodded in unison, but I could sense their concern.’
    incline, bob, bow, dip, wag, duck
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Signify or express (greeting, assent, or understanding) by nodding.
      ‘he nodded his consent’
      • ‘Cara nodded her understanding, her eyes still on the still body of Cedric.’
      • ‘You'll always find a chorus of people to nod agreement to your stupid charge.’
      • ‘‘It's a good time to be a scrum-half,’ Lawson insists and his rival nods his agreement.’
      • ‘Napoleon nodded his understanding, gave me a brief pat, then turned his attention to the stunning woman behind me.’
      • ‘Shields nods his agreement, but it is qualified.’
      • ‘When I ask her about this, McTeer nods her assent.’
      • ‘They only nodded their agreement, although deep in their hearts they rejected his idea.’
      • ‘Rico continued to give various tips and instructions, Chris nodding his understanding throughout the lecture.’
      • ‘The teen girl nodded her understanding, and disappeared down the hallway.’
      • ‘Not to anyone's amazement, a woman was found in the audience who began nodding vigorous assent to everything Charles said.’
      • ‘Today I nodded my greeting, but he avoided my gaze, and whizzed past with his son.’
      • ‘With tingling anticipation the audience nodded its agreement that the card the girl had drawn on had indeed been decimated.’
      • ‘The others knew what he was going to say, and nodded their understanding.’
      • ‘‘We never think of that,’ replies George, while Gilbert nods his assent.’
      • ‘Harry shot a glance at me quickly, before nodding his assent and followed the uniformed officer out of the room.’
      • ‘He became quizzical yet some of them nodded their assent or what he took to be assent.’
      • ‘Ally nodded her understanding; she knew exactly what it was like to have an agent who didn't listen.’
      • ‘Stifling another giggle, she only nods her agreement, unable to voice her assent.’
      • ‘He glared down at Alex, who was nodding a greeting at the teacher and slipping his cell phone into his pocket.’
      • ‘He laughed at his own description, nodding assent, and laughing also.’
      signal, gesture, gesticulate, motion, sign, indicate
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2nod something throughinformal Approve something by general agreement, without discussion.
      ‘the DTI nodded through the bid from Airtours’
      • ‘The decision to axe the brainwave was nodded through by both Conservative and Labour councillors without debate or comment.’
      • ‘I am disappointed that this change was nodded through without any debate, and treated as a budget-saving measure.’
      • ‘Even if his political friends were to nod a deal through, there remains Five's major shareholder, the German media group RTL.’
      • ‘A number of resolutions were nodded through and a couple knocked back.’
      • ‘She can nod the deal through; she can agree to the deal but ask for certain undertakings; or she can refer the matter to the Competition Commission.’
      • ‘The expectation is that the board will nod them through.’
      • ‘So presumably the owners are hoping both councils will be as confused as I am about the boundary and nod it through anyway.’
      • ‘But he added that A-Levels were going the way of GCSEs in the sense that universities and companies were increasingly unlikely to look at candidates with less than a C, now that 24 out of 25 entries were nodded through.’
      • ‘The job of members of parliament is to nod the decisions through, and party members will have the task of justifying them to the public.’
    3. 1.3 Move one's head up and down repeatedly.
      ‘he shut his eyes, nodding to the beat’
      figurative ‘foxgloves nodding by the path’
  • 2no object Let one's head fall forward when drowsy or asleep.

    ‘Anna nodded over her book’
    • ‘It's quiet, the woman's out, the kid's asleep, and I am nodding over a notebook and tea, wearing fuzzy slippers.’
    • ‘Basic chores done, I gave up and went to sit in the kitchen, where I slumped in my chair, yawning and nodding.’
    1. 2.1 Make a mistake due to a momentary lack of alertness or attention.
      ‘scientific reason, like Homer, sometimes nods’
      • ‘I glanced over my shoulder and he nodded toward the bank and I saw it was moving the wrong way.’
      • ‘The bartender nods toward a brass plate on the bar that reads, No One Under 18 is Permitted.’
      • ‘Beck just nodded his head knowingly, before nodding toward Jesse, whose blonde bangs covered any expression his eyes were holding as they skimmed across the paper.’
      • ‘Giles relaxed into a smile, nodding toward the guards.’
      • ‘He was nodding toward the booth of the Detroit Super Bowl Host Committee, which featured a couch and a fireplace.’
      • ‘‘Him,’ I said, nodding toward our neighbor, who was revving the engine on his boat.’
      • ‘Blair looked at Jim, nodding toward his injured arm.’
      • ‘‘Unfortunately, with no wind, this course is a doddle,’ McHenry says, nodding toward the leaderboard.’
      • ‘‘Maybe he knows,’ Michael said, nodding toward a grumpy person standing at the foot of the bottom steps.’
      • ‘‘They look crazy,’ said Jana, nodding toward the table when she saw me looking at them.’
      • ‘He offered her a reassuring smile before nodding toward her hand.’
      • ‘‘Here comes your brother,’ Chris said, changing the subject and nodding toward the door.’
      • ‘The salesman at the counter though said not a word merely nodding toward a door behind him.’
      • ‘She was there with friends, and she nodded toward a small group of white women standing on the outer edge of the dance floor.’
      • ‘‘Oh, and look at that,’ he said, elbowing me and nodding toward a woman wearing tight ski pants.’
      • ‘She nodded toward a corner of the room, where five chairs sat in a semi-circle around the fire.’
      • ‘‘He marked you,’ the Unicorn said, nodding toward the bruises exposed on my arms.’
      • ‘Evan shook his head and straightened up, nodding toward the ramp.’
      • ‘She caught his gaze and held it evenly, nodding toward the gate.’
      • ‘I sighed quietly and looked over at Quinn, before slipping my hand from Jordan's and nodding toward the open door.’
      make a mistake, be mistaken, be in error, be wrong, be incorrect, get something wrong, make an error, make a slip, err, trip up, stumble
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  • 3with object and adverbial of direction Head (the ball) without great force.

    ‘Henry nodded the ball over the line’
    • ‘The Manchester United midfielder, with his back to the goal, turned brilliantly to float the ball in for Emile Heskey, who was allowed to nod the ball down for Owen.’
    • ‘As Kahn clutched air, Barmby nodded the ball down for Michael Owen to fire home into an empty net.’
    • ‘Delgado chases a long ball from Mendez and nearly gets behind Baszczynski, but the defender finds an extra inch in a desperate final leap to nod the ball back to Boruc.’
    • ‘County missed a glorious chance when defensive panic from a free-kick caused Gavin to nod the ball over the advancing Henderson.’
    • ‘Shaugnessy grabbed his second seven minutes from time after Rhead had nodded the ball into his path.’
    • ‘He nodded the ball down only for the goalkeeper to stick out a hand and paw it away.’
    • ‘He swung in a cross which Walker failed to cut out and the Zimbabwe player nodded the ball into an empty net from two yards.’
    • ‘Again Johnson was the provider with a fine centre, which was knocked back across goal and this time Wright wasn't to be denied, nodding the ball over the line.’
    • ‘Johnson sent in a looping cross from the right and Ferdinand beat two defenders to win the header and nod the ball down for Defoe.’
    • ‘McNamara gets the closest yet to a goal for either side by nodding the ball wide of Hedman's reach.’

noun

  • 1An act of nodding the head.

    ‘at a nod from his father he left the room’
    • ‘He turned down the challenge gracefully with a slight nod of approval.’
    • ‘Amanda commented to Jenkins and received a curt nod of acknowledgement.’
    • ‘He gave her a final nod with a smile, and exited the cabin.’
    • ‘She gave the men a nod of thanks and quickly closed the door.’
    • ‘Marvin gave them a slight imperceptible nod and they grinned darkly.’
    • ‘After getting nods of agreement from Brad and Natasha, she opened the book.’
    • ‘Marissa gave a curt nod of her head before making her way to one of the two logs.’
    • ‘He answered my father with a slight nod, his cold eyes never leaving my own.’
    • ‘‘Anytime,’ I replied, and gave her a slight nod as she departed in the opposite direction.’
    • ‘Evan's barely perceptible nod was his only answer.’
    • ‘Only after their new boss's back was turned did he look up and give Gina a quick acknowledging nod.’
    • ‘He just gave a quick and indifferent nod in her direction and walked past.’
    • ‘Simon gave Jacob a slow yet reassuring nod.’
    • ‘She did not even have to give the slightest of nods in reply.’
    • ‘He just kept on playing, allowing himself only the merest nod of recognition.’
    • ‘The queen went back to her dinner with a slight nod.’
    • ‘‘Yes,’ she said with a slight nod and as she started backing slowly away.’
    • ‘Nelson gave a curt nod of his head, and Morton picked up the mike at the plot table.’
    • ‘Alexis returned the embrace and agreed with the slight nod of her head.’
    signal, indication, sign, cue
    inclination, bob, bow, dip, duck
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1a nod to A gesture of acknowledgement or concession to.
      ‘the device is a nod to the conventions of slapstick’
      • ‘His most recent tattoo, across his lower back reads, with a nod to John Lennon: ‘All You Need Is Love’.’
      • ‘This may have been a statement that The Simpsons has survived, but I think instead it is a nod to all those cartoons that did not make it.’
      • ‘Hundreds of dancers took spectators on a glitzy trip through Italian history, with a nod to Botticelli, Fellini and Ferrari.’
      • ‘Virtually every guitar solo featured on their fourth studio album is a nod to the hard rock hair bands of the early '90s.’
      • ‘It would indicate thoughtfulness and a nod to common sense.’
      • ‘Because of health and safety regulations, the new owners have had to content themselves with a plastic parrot behind the bar as a nod to the venue's past.’
      • ‘Is the world ready for a comedy action movie that has even the slightest nod to 9/11?’
      • ‘A surprising twist in the film was the number of perfectly placed celebrity cameos, a nod to actors with failing careers who are hoping to steal a laugh.’
      • ‘Creating characters is almost a game in itself, and in a nod to the genome project, their looks and characteristics are passed on to children.’
      • ‘However, in a nod to modernity there is also a section in the competition for speciality entries allowing exotic variations involving puréed fruit, honey, caramel or whisky.’
      • ‘The oven-fried chicken is a nod to the Shake-'n-Bake craze that started in the late 1960s.’
      • ‘In a nod to health, a minor one, they had margarine instead of butter.’
      • ‘Built in the late Seventies, when the Troubles were at their most incendiary, it casts more than a nod to the brutalist school of architecture.’
      • ‘Like a flat pack, the Grand Opera House pantomime is assembled in next to no time and somehow just about holds together and does the job without a nod to fashion.’
      • ‘He says recent judgments in the courts would appear to be a nod to our legislators to go ahead and enact something similar, but this has yet to materialise.’
      • ‘I wouldn't be offended by dubbing, since the words are nothing but a nod to convention.’
      • ‘The deodorant and all the rest is merely a nod to convention.’
      • ‘He became the first dancehall artist to grace the cover of Vibe magazine, the urban music bible, a nod to the rising importance of both the artist and the genre.’
      • ‘There is also a nod to the mayoral experiment in big cities: Labour now believes it has worked in London and would like it to be extended to other centres.’
      • ‘There even appears to be a nod to her own back pages in ‘Push’, which confirms Europe as a major musical influence.’

Phrases

  • nodding acquaintance

    • A slight acquaintance with a person or knowledge of a subject.

      ‘students will need a nodding acquaintance with three other languages’
      • ‘The price has little more than a nodding acquaintance with the actual value; the only thing that matters is what the next sucker in line is willing to pay.’
      • ‘Now, I would have thought that anyone who has had even a nodding acquaintance with Econ 101 would have figured that as the most natural outcome of market integration.’
      • ‘It's a production designed with short attention spans in mind, although it helps if you have at least a nodding acquaintance with the plays themselves.’
      • ‘There were three women; I was on nodding acquaintance with one of them, so we exchanged greetings.’
      • ‘There was no evidence of anything beyond a nodding acquaintance between the two neighbours.’
      • ‘We can rely on these crowds to be reasonably well behaved and to have at least a nodding acquaintance with the laws of the game.’
      • ‘Parody clicks only when the viewer identifies with the subject, and London as of now is only starting to make more than a nodding acquaintance with Indian culture.’
      • ‘Moderation is the inseparable companion of wisdom, but with it genius has not even a nodding acquaintance.’
      • ‘It only takes a nodding acquaintance with this man to realise that that is not his nature.’
      • ‘But I was hesitant to do that because, frankly, some of the news these days looks to have little more than a nodding acquaintance with reality and doesn't make any coherent sense to me at all.’
      bit, small amount, little, modicum, touch, soupçon
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  • be on nodding terms

    • Know someone slightly.

      ‘the two girls are not even on nodding terms with each other’
      • ‘After the first few nights he was on nodding terms with late night police patrols and staff at the 24-hour Tesco store.’
      • ‘It helped that I was on nodding terms with the actress he was talking to, so I clumsily barged in.’
      • ‘I can't pretend to be on great terms with my neighbours on this estate - but I try to be on nodding terms, at least with the ones I recognise.’
      • ‘If you don't know what they look like you will only stand a chance if you are on nodding terms with someone who does know what they look like, though you can feel a real idiot by having to ask.’
      • ‘I'm on nodding terms with my two immediate neighbours.’
      • ‘By now almost on nodding terms with Aer Lingus's pilots, we booked yet another four-day stint to be sure, to be sure.’
      • ‘Through Saturday evening and Sunday, I was on nodding terms with several groups of pathologists who had theories that produced a wide range of diagnoses.’
      • ‘Wiggins struck gold on the track in Athens last year and is on nodding terms with the American great.’
  • get the nod

    • 1Be selected or approved.

      ‘I think Hooper will get the nod as he's been playing really well recently’
      • ‘Last year the calculator almost denied Shanahoe a place in the championship semi-final, but by a percentage point they got the nod.’
      • ‘If Mary gets the nod from the Irish selectors it will be her first Senior international and a wonderful achievement for this young athlete.’
      • ‘In fact, it even got the nod as the speculative selection in the first edition of our value newsletter.’
      • ‘Abbott filed for Food & Drug Administration approval in April and is hoping to get the nod in the first quarter of 2003.’
      • ‘Crunch time will come for the selectors on September 27, when they decide who gets the nod for subsequent World Cup shows.’
      • ‘Glasgow got the nod over Edinburgh as Scotland's standard-bearer, but events industry insiders and business leaders are already voicing fears, even before the planned feasibility study gets under way.’
      • ‘Not the case, however, the selectors stayed loyal, and Kennedy gets the nod.’
      • ‘It's science fact - futuristic ideas, conceived by imaginative young men, whose crazy-sounding schemes have got the nod from the scientists.’
      • ‘Not only was he voted biggest movie star, he got the nod as the most irritating film star of the last 16 years, too, for his breathtaking displays of irregular behaviour over the course of last year.’
      • ‘As reported by the Press, Brough got the nod from rugby league writers following his starring role in the 58-16 win at Dewsbury a fortnight ago.’
      be selected, be chosen, be picked, make the grade
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    • 2Receive a signal or information.

      ‘I got the nod that the government were looking for ex-army officers to form a new force’
      • ‘Michael Lawlor only got the nod that he was starting minutes before the game as players were put under pressure to perform.’
      • ‘As the game progressed I was itching to get a run and with eight minutes to go, I got the nod to enter the fray.’
  • give someone/something the nod

    • 1Select or approve someone or something.

      ‘they banned one book but gave the other the nod’
      • ‘Because of that experience, I give them the nod.’
      • ‘So far, things are looking distinctly Brokeback Mountain coloured, after the film was given the nod by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild Of America.’
      • ‘The bureaucrats in NZ were also giving the deal the nod.’
      • ‘A committee goes into details of the couple, financial, maturity and willingness level, before giving them the nod.’
      • ‘Already the commentators were talking them up as the better team and giving them the nod to advance to the next phase.’
      • ‘If Glasgow is given the nod over Edinburgh, it makes it more likely that tourists from eastern Scotland will have to continue travelling through to the west of Scotland for many destinations and chartered flights.’
      • ‘And we even hesitate after technologies have been given the nod.’
      • ‘The Abbotstown racecourse project, which looked dead in the water when Dundalk was given the nod for Ireland's first all-weather track, is deliberately being kept alive by Horse Racing Ireland.’
      • ‘Residents in Heysham are furious that a blueprint for the watering hole was given the nod by Lancaster City Councillors despite more than 40 objections.’
      • ‘Were the White House to give you the nod, what is the very first thing you would say?’
      approve, agree to, sanction, ratify, endorse, say yes to, give one's approval to, rubber-stamp
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    • 2Give someone a signal.

      ‘just give me the nod’
      • ‘Mel comes back, Mark gives me the nod, and a second later he's crashing to the floor.’
      • ‘I'll give you the nod when we get our licence and location sorted out.’
      • ‘The orchestra leader looks around nervously, and the camera finally settles on Rick, who gives him the nod.’
      • ‘But then, about 20-30 minutes later (or however long it was - time really had no meaning to me by this stage), we were given the nod.’
      • ‘Mr Oxley said that £30,000 was already in the bank and the council had been given the nod that other funding was on the way to make up the rest of the costs.’
      • ‘Is our job done when the US gives us the nod, as usual?’
      • ‘Seanie came back anyway, I gave him the nod, ‘we'd better be moving on!’’
      • ‘I looked at Chaz, giving him the nod to order the drinks.’
      • ‘When they give you the nod, then move the rod to the gimbal.’
      • ‘But until you are given the nod, there is nothing you can do.’
  • a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse

    • proverb Used to convey that a hint or suggestion can be or has been understood without the need of further elaboration or explanation.

      ‘of course, we can't discuss it over the telephone, but a nod's as good as a wink, and I promise I'll be very careful’
      • ‘West Ham threw up their hands in horror, claiming they'd never gone near him, but a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse, and why talk to him directly when you can put it all in the papers?’
      • ‘So, if a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse, I think I can almost safely assume we are good enough for this particular rental agency.’
  • on the nod

    • 1informal By general agreement and without discussion.

      ‘parliamentary approval of the treaty went through on the nod’
      • ‘However, decisions are made and go through on the nod before the inconvenience of having to notify the public.’
      • ‘My divorce went through on the nod, but I didn't fight it, believing it to be the only option for both of us.’
      • ‘Why it felt this was necessary is something that no one can adequately explain, especially since very similar reports were passed through on the nod.’
      • ‘More than anything else, it's important there is resistance rather than cuts just going through on the nod.’
      • ‘Turning for home Vintage Storm was joined by All the Swallows and it was nip and tuck all the way to the finish with Vintage Storm winning on the nod by a head in 29.84.’
      • ‘'You never hear about the ones that go through on the nod,' he says.’
      • ‘The item was not actually discussed but instead went through on the nod.’
      • ‘Why can't they just put it through on the nod for Heaven's Sake?’
      • ‘Fortunately, this application is unlikely to pass on the nod.’
      • ‘The overspill office block built for Westminster cost more, and that went through on the nod, with none of the controversy and bad publicity attached.’
    • 2informal On credit.

      ‘the bookie took his bet on the nod’
    • 3informal Alternating between wakefulness and sleepiness on account of heroin use.

Phrasal Verbs

  • nod off

    • Fall asleep, especially briefly or unintentionally.

      ‘he nodded off during the sermon’
      • ‘Find yourself nodding off at your desk by mid-afternoon, then failing asleep during your favorite TV show in the evening?’
      • ‘He admitted that he had nearly nodded off just before the crash.’
      • ‘I ate a light breakfast and nodded off to asleep again, sleepy from the previous night's restlessness.’
      • ‘I thought I was going to fall asleep, but every time I began to nod off, my dad would elbow me slightly.’
      • ‘As the driver's head falls forward as he starts to nod off, the audible alarm is activated.’
      • ‘After a while, the girls had quieted down enough for Shannon to fall asleep and for Sarah to start nodding off, yet again.’
      • ‘But for once she had nothing to lean against and she had the impression that if she nodded off anymore, she might possibly fall off her horse.’
      • ‘Eric was up an about this morning when we got up this morning before nodding off again and has been asleep for the last few hours.’
      • ‘The defendant is very sorry for causing the fatal accident, Your Honour, it was unintentional, he nodded off whilst driving.’
      • ‘The road continues to unwind, and Frank nods off briefly, before snapping awake after a close call.’
      fall asleep, go to sleep, get to sleep, doze off, drop off
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Origin

Late Middle English (as a verb): perhaps of Low German origin; compare with Middle High German notten ‘move about, shake’. The noun dates from the mid 16th century.

Pronunciation

nod

/nɒd/