Definition of nose in US English:



  • 1The part projecting above the mouth on the face of a person or animal, containing the nostrils and used for breathing and smelling.

    • ‘Nosebleeds in children usually occur in the front of the nose due to picking the nose or to sensitive nostril linings.’
    • ‘It enters the body when air is breathed in through the mouth and nose and into the lungs.’
    • ‘When he falls in deep water, the non-swimmer should lie flat on his back, let his head submerge and keep only his nose and mouth above the surface.’
    • ‘Her eyes saw, her ears heard, her nose smelt every animal in the forest form the elk and bear to the termite and the shrew.’
    • ‘The nose and nostril openings also should be as symmetrical as possible.’
    • ‘Sinuses are lined with the same mucous membranes that line the nose and mouth.’
    • ‘Each of the sinusitis sufferers had characteristic thickening of the mucous membranes in their noses or sinuses.’
    • ‘Treatments may involve using a device to keep your airway open or undergoing a procedure to remove tissue from your nose, mouth or throat.’
    • ‘It held a piece of fabric above his nose and mouth to keep out the rising stench.’
    • ‘The same aging process can affect the skin of the forehead, particularly just above the nose.’
    • ‘Keep your nasal passages clear by gently blowing your nose, one nostril at a time.’
    • ‘Liquid leaks out of the blood vessels, making the mucous membranes lining the nose and throat to swell, and stimulating nearby gland to produce mucus.’
    • ‘The doctor took off my glasses and tapped my forehead above my nose.’
    • ‘Occasionally a tube is put into the trachea through the nose or mouth to help with breathing.’
    • ‘Deep breathing through the nose and mouth is often involved when volatile substances are abused, not simply ‘sniffing’.’
    • ‘All other sounds are oral sounds and require that the space between the nose and the mouth be closed by the soft palate.’
    • ‘Breathing through the nose rather than the mouth helps keep the mouth washed by saliva.’
    • ‘The numeric values may be affected by whether the patient is breathing through the nose or mouth depending on the site of monitoring.’
    • ‘Again, she tried to scream but one of the figures put a sickly smelling cloth on her nose and mouth and she began to feel tired.’
    • ‘As air is inhaled, the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth warm and humidify the air before it enters the lungs.’
    snout, muzzle, proboscis, trunk
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    1. 1.1in singular The sense of smell, especially a dog's ability to track something by its scent.
      ‘a dog with a keen nose’
      • ‘His nose picked up no scent of a living body, only that of blood, corpses, soot, and other chaos.’
      • ‘The combination of the two consistencies and flavours is as delightful to the palate as the aroma is to the nose.’
      • ‘The mouth is capable of making an overall assessment of a wine's texture, while the nose senses what we call its flavour.’
      • ‘The presence of the jungle was sensed through the nose.’
      • ‘Dog noses at best discern 20 or so explosive scents, but electronic detectors, at least in theory, can screen a far larger array.’
      • ‘Just like the human nose, it can sense early on if something is smoldering or starting to burn.’
      • ‘More dumped mail has been discovered in Bradford - thanks to the keen nose of a springer spaniel.’
      • ‘Smart and easy to train, this breed has an excellent nose and wonderful staying power.’
      • ‘It was a strong smell; she did not need to use any ability other than her nose to sense it.’
      • ‘My nose senses that this is a murky, damp place, but with some semblance of warmth and the faint scent of cold food.’
      • ‘With that Lana made to leave and Terra's nose caught the scent of her soft perfume; lavender, roses, and chamomile.’
      • ‘Aroma sensory stations offer guidance for untrained noses as guests sniff their way through a study of wine components.’
      • ‘A strange musk disguised the Knights' scent from the keen nose of the werewolf.’
      • ‘Her nose picked up the scent of blood, even before she saw the growing puddle in the dim light of the hold.’
      sense of smell, olfactory sense
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    2. 1.2in singular An instinctive talent for detecting something.
      ‘he has a nose for a good script’
      • ‘He is a hard-working, diligent professional with a nose for goal.’
      • ‘Soon after he had joined the army, Drake had shown both talent for combat and strategy as well as a nose for top information.’
      • ‘McGowan, a wine buff who is scrupulously careful about what he invests in, has a nose for a bargain.’
      • ‘He had a nose for poetic talent; indeed there was a current myth that Tambi only had to put his hands on a manuscript to know if the poems were any good or not.’
      • ‘It is a cliche and sounds pretentious and self-glorifying, but it is true that you can get a nose for danger.’
      • ‘If he has a feel for the zeitgeist of the television-watching public, he certainly has a nose for a good property investment.’
      • ‘Alan Furst has the eye for detail, a nose for the street, and an ear for the way desperate people actually talk.’
      • ‘After studying stamps for years, Worley says you develop a nose for valuable ones.’
      • ‘His co-author James also had a nose for the mystery.’
      • ‘Police in Wiltshire have welcomed a new recruit to the force with a nose for solving crime.’
      • ‘While Cusk suspected a social conspiracy designed to keep women producing, Enright too has a nose for peer-group propaganda.’
      • ‘Yes, he's the heart and soul of the Pats' defense and a true playmaker who has incredible instincts and a nose for the ball.’
      • ‘He has a nose for drama - and eccentrics - and his diversions on his wild quest make for thrilling reading.’
      • ‘A nose for news and excellent verbal and written skills are a must.’
      • ‘He was a wonderfully sweet-natured boy; quick-witted, willing, and had a nose for golf.’
      • ‘Strickland has range, a nose for the ball and the instincts to make a difference.’
      • ‘Sykes has a nose for the ball and the talent to be a playmaker, but he sometimes gets caught out of position or lost in traffic.’
      • ‘An adjoining room spoke of a man with a nose for aesthetics and simple comfort.’
      • ‘So if you are a budding entrepreneur with a nose for a good idea and think that you could capture the essence of, say, Leeds or Solihull in a bottle, now might be the time to give it a try.’
      • ‘Ronay has a nose for talent and was an early champion of Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc.’
      instinct, feeling, gift for detecting, gift for discovering, sixth sense, intuition, insight, perception
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    3. 1.3 The aroma of a particular substance, especially wine.
      • ‘The nose lacks aroma, the palate is watery and the finish not memorable.’
      • ‘A blockbuster wine, the nose of which is bursting with fruit.’
      • ‘This is another reason on why one should appreciate the nose of a wine.’
      • ‘This is a very convincing Cabernet-driven wine; the nose is light and youthfully sweet.’
      • ‘Primary raspberry fruit dominates the nose and palate, and the finish is tweaked with toasty oak.’
      • ‘It's a deep, dark wine with a great nose, prune and plum flavours with a hint of oak.’
      • ‘Pineapple aromas overwhelm the nose and the palate harmonises these with toasty French oak.’
      • ‘An inky black liquid with a strong nose, the wine is packed with dense, concentrated fruit and silky smooth tannins.’
      • ‘It has an attractive nose of raspberry, with a long savoury finish.’
      • ‘It delivers an aromatic nose of red fruits and nuts, and a smooth, nutty palate backed by a splash of acidity on the finish.’
      • ‘The nose reveals zesty aromas that have you salivating before the liqueur has even passed your lips.’
      • ‘In the glass it is a deep purple and black wine with a nose of small sweet berries.’
      • ‘An exotic Lebanese assemblage of Sauvignon and muscat, this crisp, complex wine has a nose of light apricot and white flowers.’
      • ‘It reveals an aromatic nose and flavoursome, velvety-smooth palate of Darjeeling tea, freshly picked roses and black cherries.’
      • ‘A big-boned and racy Languedoc Syrah, it has a warm perfumed nose that hints of heather and dried spices.’
      • ‘A lustrous dry wine, the nose exudes tinned apricot, the wash is a blend of nut, lime and very sweet ripe melon.’
      • ‘Aggressive raspberry and black cherry nose is followed by a ripe fruit and sweet oak palate, and a finish which is slightly stalky and green.’
      smell, bouquet, aroma, fragrance, perfume, scent, odour
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  • 2The front end of an aircraft, car, or other vehicle.

    • ‘At the same time something dropped - guns probably - from the nose of the plane.’
    • ‘We could see the lights of the coast directly off the nose of the aircraft.’
    • ‘He pulled the nose of his slow-moving aircraft up and over sharply.’
    • ‘Then the roll stopped and the nose of the plane started to level.’
    • ‘The nose undercarriage was sheared off and one blade of the propeller was bent back underneath the nose of the aircraft.’
    • ‘To quell understeer, for example, the system slows the inside rear wheel slightly in order to pull the nose back toward the inside of a turn.’
    • ‘This time Junior makes a dramatic move to the inside of the track, pointing the nose of his Chevrolet nearly straight at the pit lane.’
    • ‘The accident damaged the propeller and both sets of landing gear at the nose and the rear of the plane.’
    • ‘A new helmet system allows the pilot to fire missiles at enemy craft by looking at them, rather than having to point the nose of the aircraft in the direction of the target.’
    • ‘They could gain better access and a better angle if the nose of the aircraft was more level with the deck.’
    • ‘He began his flare at 200 feet; however, the nose of the aircraft got a little too high.’
    • ‘This aspirin bottle was wedged against a rudder cable in the nose of the aircraft, behind the pilot's rudder pedals.’
    • ‘It has a small museum with a collection of memorabilia, including examples of a lot of the lively art which found its way onto aircraft noses.’
    • ‘According to the Ministry of Defence, which later confirmed the incident, the nose of one aircraft touched the wing of another.’
    • ‘After Capt Hayes prompted Capt Mulloy multiple times, she finally pulled the power and lowered the nose of the aircraft.’
    • ‘Then Redell pointed the aircraft's nose down the runway and accelerated ever so smoothly.’
    • ‘Special art was applied to the nose and the aircraft received the name California Boomerang.’
    • ‘Once the nose of the aircraft is over the edge, we would be out of the ejection envelope and would run the risk of ejecting into the water or the side of the carrier.’
    • ‘The nose of our plane got shot up, and I was wounded in the arm and groin.’
    • ‘Witnesses saw the nose drop and the aircraft plunge to the ground.’
    • ‘Don't be afraid to use the rudder at the last second before touchdown to put the nose exactly in front of you.’
    tip, nose cone
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    1. 2.1 A projecting part of something.
      ‘the nose of the saddle’
      • ‘But they shouldn't be so short that the nose of the saddle rubs on bare skin.’
      • ‘For the steepest climbs, you need to be on intimate terms with the extreme nose of your saddle.’
      • ‘If the nose of your saddle is brushing the back of your thighs, you are just right.’
      • ‘Positioning the nose of the saddle downwards may relieve your initial discomfort but it may cause long term pain.’
      • ‘For starters it keeps the nose of the saddle straight in situations where other shockers twist and shout.’
  • 3in singular A look, especially out of curiosity.

    ‘she wanted a good nose around the house’
    • ‘More and more independent fashion shops are getting into badges so have a nose around your favourites and see what they've got.’
    • ‘The dog clambered up onto the counter and stood there with a paw on each side of my bag and had a good old nose around.’
    • ‘Then have a good nose around looking for stolen goods.’
    • ‘Much as I desperately wanted to have a nose around it, I didn't have the guts to fake enough of an interest to ring up the estate agent to arrange an appointment to view.’
    • ‘Its occupants were not present, giving the viewers the chance for a thorough nose around.’
    • ‘In a spirit of festive spookery, I've been having a nose around the venerable story of the Campden Wonder.’
    • ‘So it's no surprise that he might have a nose around the N-Gage as a possible platform to support.’
    • ‘The company has just put the site up live, so if you click here you can have a nose around and see what you think.’
    search, look, prowl, ferret, poke, exploration, investigation
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    1. 3.1informal A police informer.


  • 1no object, with adverbial of place (of an animal) thrust its nose against or into something, especially in order to smell it.

    ‘the pony nosed at the straw’
    • ‘He dropped his reins, and his horse began nosing about in the undergrowth for forage.’
    • ‘Black nostrils twitched as the animal nosed over the tracks, then sauntered along the trail, head down, sniffing.’
    • ‘Like the brush hideouts and tree houses of my youth, this will be a secure, cozy little cave with room for only one person and a couple of cats if they choose to come nosing around.’
    • ‘Half a mile to the north, a scattered herd of fallow deer nosed at the snow-covered roots of wide-spaced, scraggly trees sprouting from the rubble of an ancient landslide.’
    • ‘The bear will nose around you for a little bit but will eventually leave you alone.’
    • ‘‘It's very tough to make money on cattle these days,’ Ehrp says while driving past pens filled with fat steers nosing in the feed troughs.’
    • ‘In fact, every single day, we have seen squirrels, young and old, scurrying up and down its magnificent branches, nosing around for food, or simply chasing each other for fun.’
    • ‘There is even a shot of a suitably feral-looking dog nosing through ripped bin bags tossed onto the streets.’
    • ‘My sweatshirt had ridden up a little bit, exposing about two inches of skin, which was getting quite the tickling as she was nosing around and crawling over to my other side, so that now she is on the edge of my bed that is not up against a wall.’
    • ‘There's his amusing shot of the neighbourhood barber at work as the neighbourhood goat noses about.’
    • ‘Han snuck to the edge of a small clearing and saw the deer nosing about in the grass and leaves.’
    • ‘Then, when two or three of the big brown rats snuck out to twitch and nose through the trash, he'd put his shotgun up to his shoulder and fire.’
    • ‘I looked around the clearing to where our horses nosed together in the grass.’
    • ‘Cutecat likes to visit at all hours of the day and night, sneaking in through the back door to nose around, snuggle up and generally act cute.’
    • ‘Cruickshank, the dachshund, nosed his way around the doorpost, between Katherine's ankles and curled up on a rumpled, moulting hearth-rug.’
    • ‘The sight of a huge cinnamon bear nosing among the cans and bottles rewarded his effort.’
    • ‘Tiny Janine - named after the character in Eastenders - was nosing under the appliance when she got stuck.’
    nuzzle, nudge, push, prod
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    1. 1.1with object Smell or sniff (something).
      • ‘You should nose it, taste it, add water, nose it again, taste it again.’
      • ‘She nosed the material curiously, ears pricking.’
      • ‘The judges had to nose samples on a daily basis, assessing their character and quality to form bottlings for the different variants supplied to the market.’
      • ‘A squirrel noses its way down a tree in the back yard.’
      • ‘‘All right,’ she said, nosing the glass like a connoisseur.’
      • ‘Spunk leaped up onto her bed and nosed his way up to Amy's face, licking with such exuberance that was seen only in a puppy.’
      • ‘The bear proceeded rather deliberately to nose the hotel's telegraph key before walking out the front door into the night.’
      • ‘After pouring a finger of your chosen whisky, briefly nose the glass.’
      • ‘I nosed the glass with some apprehension because Abi and my parents - knowing how much I've disliked whisky in the past - were all watching me intently to see what I thought.’
  • 2no object Investigate or pry into something.

    ‘I was anxious to get inside and nose around her house’
    ‘she's always nosing into my business’
    • ‘Beyond the truly malicious, there are also your neighbors who may find your network by accident and enjoy nosing into your activities and using your Internet access at will, slowing down your network speed in the process.’
    • ‘The police are soon nosing about, trying to figure out the mystery of several locals who've gone missing.’
    • ‘For good reasons, they don't want the headache of allowing a bunch of outsiders to nose around their network.’
    • ‘She hadn't seen her since Paris, maybe five years ago, maybe longer, and the last thing she needed was Arley nosing into her business now.’
    • ‘Bears, birds and other animals don't seem to mind a quiet camera nosing in on their business.’
    • ‘Somebody wants Officer Meikle to stop nosing around - and the sooner the better.’
    • ‘This will stop Mrs Jones, your next door neighbour, who works as a cleaner in your local GPs, nosing into your health records and telling Mrs Smith, your other neighbour, about them.’
    • ‘No sounds had come from the kitchen, but he knew as etiquette it was not polite to nose around the host's house.’
    • ‘How Clean Is Your House gave us yet another opportunity to nose around other people's abodes.’
    • ‘There will be people nosing into what others own, what they do, and what their assets are, for nosy-parker reasons in total.’
    • ‘I think I'll nose around a bit and see if there's any work for me.’
    • ‘With the pop-culture machine currently devouring everything even remotely surf-related, it might at first seem odd that Hollywood hasn't started nosing around Newport Beach.’
    • ‘The kitchen came up with the same results, but once Carina finally started to nose around the bedroom, she found some things.’
    • ‘People are born to be curious and many of them are addicted to nosing around popular secrets, actually whatever might be sensational, because they are proud of learning the real story before others.’
    • ‘Well, I just stumbled on the re-enactment as I was nosing around trying to find out what the book would be about.’
    • ‘I can't even breathe in this country because everyone is crowding me and nosing into my affairs and slightest movements!’
    • ‘I've been nosing around inside the 125-year-old building with its high ceilings, original windows and bumpy plaster.’
    • ‘Tired of the young girl's glances, he decided to nose around the rest of the small town.’
    • ‘What makes this really puzzling to most girls is the fact that they feel completely deserving of their parents' trust - but their parents are nosing around anyway.’
    • ‘I'm sorry, I'm sorry, and I won't go nosing into other people's lives anymore.’
    pry, enquire impertinently, be inquisitive, enquire
    investigate, explore, ferret in, ferret about in, ferret around in, rummage in, search, delve into, peer into, prowl around, have a good look at
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    1. 2.1with object Detect by diligent searching.
      • ‘She opened her eyes and headed up King St, peering into cafes as she passed, twitching her nostrils like a sniffer dog, nosing out the secret stash of illicit nectar that would, of course, be the momentary answer to all her problems.’
      detect, find, search out, discover, disclose, bring to light, track down, dig up, hunt out, ferret out, root out, uncover, unearth, disinter, smell out, sniff out, follow the scent of, scent out, run to earth, run to ground
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  • 3no object, with adverbial of direction (of a vehicle or its driver) make one's way cautiously forward.

    ‘he turned left and nosed into an empty parking space’
    • ‘My car nosed under the guardrail and broke in half.’
    • ‘As the boat nosed onto a sandy beach, we disembarked and walked up a short incline to Mingun.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, crowds pack her restaurant, watching lilliputian fishing boats nosing into the breeze, fishermen working over their gear, seagulls white in the sun.’
    • ‘Somehow, however, disaster would be averted; our ride car would nose upward.’
    • ‘In places, where low-hanging willows crowd either bank, we could almost be nosing upstream along a tributary of the Amazon, so enclosed is the water.’
    • ‘Our boat noses into the tidal marsh, and we spot nesting egrets and barking sea lions.’
    • ‘With first gear engaged, and the second gearstick that controls the transfer box set to Low, the car noses down the sheer slope with amazing assurance.’
    • ‘Every Sunday the long-bowed, canvas-canopied church boat nosed from dock to dock gathering the faithful.’
    • ‘On the first day we moved around locally, nosing into small bays and coves, or calas as the locals call them.’
    • ‘Mr Breen said Mr Kerry had no intention of depriving his employer of the van, and that he was nosing out of the car park when the accident happened.’
    • ‘Suddenly, as we reflected quietly, there was a great grinding and grumbling then, nosing round a corner, came a famous big red London bus.’
    • ‘The truck nosed over the ridge, and the heavy tires crunched across the icy ruts.’
    • ‘And it was great fun, nosing up to little bays and trying to avoid rocks while working out where to drop your anchor.’
    • ‘Alex watched from the bridge's viewport as the ship nosed into the thickness of charged gas.’
    • ‘It will fool you with just how well behaved it is, cruising quietly on B roads or nosing through the traffic.’
    • ‘Technically speaking, it gives a warden free rein to issue a ticket as soon as the car noses into the bay.’
    move slowly, ease, inch, edge, move, manoeuvre, steer, slip, squeeze, slide
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    1. 3.1 (of a competitor) manage to achieve a winning or leading position, especially by a small margin.
      ‘they nosed ahead by one point’
      • ‘Samsung nosed ahead of Motorola, shipping 6.2m units to Moto's 6m, and grabbing 16 per cent of the market in the process.’
      • ‘Noone went over to edge ahead for the first time but Castleford nosed back in front when Hepworth grabbed a second try.’
      • ‘This week's first position was secured by Ken Goddard, a newish member of the seniors, who nosed ahead of John with a score of 40 points.’
      • ‘Australian stand-off Julian O'Neill's penalty after 24 minutes nosed Wigan ahead after Craig Smith had been judged to have been held down in the tackle.’
      • ‘In a photo finish Russia held on to first with Italy nosing ahead of Lithuania in the last 30 metres to take the second qualifying spot.’
      • ‘Faulkner just got the better start from the outside of the front row to nose ahead of Westbrook on the sprint to the first corner.’
      • ‘Only this year have the two brands combined been able to nose ahead of the French number one.’
      • ‘Birkenshaw looked well on course for a welcome win at Siddal when they nosed in front 20-12 early in the second stanza.’
      • ‘Team-mate Muller then nosed ahead of Neal in the sprint to the finish line for third.’
      • ‘In 1964, the season ended in a three-team race on the final weekend with the Yankees nosing out Chicago and Baltimore by one and two games, respectively.’
      • ‘Straight from the restart Hillside scored a converted try to nose in front for the first time.’
      • ‘Faulkner even nosed marginally ahead, but Westbrook - from pole position - held the inside line and just got into Turn 1 ahead.’
      • ‘The Briton takes the second with a deft drop shot to nose ahead again.’
      • ‘At the finish line, Fulks nosed ahead for the win by just two-thousandths of a second.’
      • ‘The scores seemed to follow a certain pattern as Wicklow persistently nosed ahead and Mayo doggedly pulled them back.’
      • ‘However, he still nosed briefly ahead of the Mercedes as they threaded through slower traffic.’
      • ‘When second seed Vietnam nosed ahead of India ‘A’ at the finish, the home team had only itself to blame.’
      • ‘Home keeper Andy Britton made a great save early in the second period but Avenue nosed in front in the 62nd minute.’
      • ‘Scotland Today now averages a 10% lead on BBC national news, also on at 6pm, and it has been nosing ahead of the BBC's Reporting Scotland in recent weeks.’
      • ‘At one stage he nosed ahead, but Alonso had the line for the next corner and went ahead again.’


  • by a nose

    • (of a victory) by a very narrow margin.

      • ‘Harmony Lodge scored by a nose over Shine Again in the 2003 Ballerina.’
      • ‘Unbeaten in six career starts, Numerous Times won the Atto Mile Stakes last time out by a nose over Affirmed Success and Quiet Resolve.’
      • ‘Trainer M. Anthony Ferraro collected his 1,000th career victory on Friday when Go Stan Israelite prevailed by a nose in the opening race at Finger Lakes.’
      • ‘Who could forget the exciting finish of 2003, when Ricky Craven beat Kurt Busch by a nose?’
      • ‘The four-year-old Lac Ouimet gelding scored by a nose in the Red Smith Handicap on November 20 at Aqueduct in his graded stakes debut.’
      • ‘In addition to his debut victory by a nose, Act One scored in the Prix Thomas Bryon by three lengths on October 15 at Saint Cloud.’
      • ‘Shake You Down, winner of the True North Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 7, won a photo finish for second by a nose over Gators N Bears.’
      • ‘She scored her lone stakes triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Hillsborough Handicap by a nose over Crazy Ensign at Bay Meadows on September 28.’
      • ‘His bid for the Japanese Triple Crown failed only by a nose in the Tokyo Yushun on May 28.’
      • ‘Tarlow, a four-year-old daughter of Stormin Fever, has not raced since her victory by a nose in the Santa Margarita on March 12 at Santa Anita.’
      just, only just, barely, narrowly, by a narrow margin, by the narrowest of margins, by a very small margin, by a hair's breadth, by the skin of one's teeth
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  • count noses

    • Count people in order to determine the numbers in a vote.

      • ‘‘Nobody is better at counting noses for votes,’ says one City Hall observer.’
      • ‘Legislative floor whips were counting noses, but no one could predict the final outcome through most of the day yesterday.’
  • cut off one's nose to spite one's face

    • Hurt oneself in the course of trying to hurt another.

      • ‘After all, he might have just the player I need on his books and I'd be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I wasn't able to conduct business.’
      • ‘It seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face, but the program is designed so the burning of a forest fire near a residence or a community would be less intense.’
      • ‘People may say that is cutting off your nose to spite your face, but I know many who are thinking about not going any more.’
      • ‘It is a case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, defending one's thesis at the cost of the matter under investigation.’
      • ‘Does sticking to your guns means cutting off your nose to spite your face?’
      • ‘I may have cut off my nose to spite my face, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens now.’
      • ‘I wasn't here when the decision to play a part was taken but I fully concur with it, because to do otherwise would be to cut off one's nose to spite one's face.’
      • ‘Losing the latter to gain some of the former is truly cutting off your nose to spite your face.’
      • ‘To use this referendum to do so would be to cut off our nose to spite our face.’
      • ‘If they go on strike, they're simply cutting off their nose to spite their face.’
  • give someone a bloody nose

    • Inflict a resounding defeat on someone.

      • ‘All those wanting to give him a bloody nose might be heartened by the latest poll.’
      • ‘‘The voters wanted to give him a bloody nose,’ he acknowledges.’
      • ‘Voters usually want to give them a bloody nose, just to remind those in power that they're being watched closely.’
      • ‘‘Wimbledon were always going to give Liverpool a bloody nose come rain or sun, such was the inner belief within the team,’ Gould maintained.’
      • ‘Nottingham Forest hadn't won or even moved further up the league, all they had done was give Charlton Athletic a bloody nose and put a temporary hold on their promotion celebrations.’
      • ‘The way the voters saw it, though, was that they had to be evicted, and this was another opportunity to give them a bloody nose.’
      • ‘We have to give him a bloody nose at the election and a vote for Respect in east London is the way to do it.’
      • ‘The solution to giving him a bloody nose lies in your hands.’
      • ‘Our concern is that the commission is focused on giving us a bloody nose whereas it will not have much effect on us.’
      • ‘That means all hope is gone of giving him a bloody nose over it in 2006.’
  • have one's nose in a book

    • Be reading studiously or intently.

      • ‘And she would have her nose in a book, most of the time.’
      • ‘Just because you always had your nose in a book doesn't mean I never noticed you!’
      • ‘Their historian doubtless had his nose in a book, reading up as much as he could find out about the location.’
      • ‘She had her nose in a book, and she didn't look up.’
      • ‘You never let anyone near you, and you always had your nose in a book.’
      • ‘She looked so cute sometimes, when she didn't have her nose in a book, at least.’
      • ‘‘You always had your nose in a book,’ her mom teased.’
      • ‘In fact, I was shy, I always had my nose in a book, and I was the furthest thing from sociable you're ever likely to see.’
      • ‘I always had my nose in a book, and I think that's true of a lot of novelists.’
      • ‘She always has her nose in a book and so one of the guys I talked to called her bookworm and I thought it stuck.’
  • keep one's nose clean

    • informal Stay out of trouble.

      • ‘It is not safe to play around when one is in the public eye, it always comes out, so if you want to climb higher in the political arena you need to keep your nose clean!’
      • ‘A judge promised to clean the slate after the Virginia Beach incident - provided he kept his nose clean for a year, which he did.’
      • ‘Now, you would have thought that right now he would be trying to keep his nose clean, steer clear of anything that could, just possibly, be misinterpreted as deception.’
      • ‘If you are not high enough up the business ladder, you take your wages, keep your nose clean, and you get in trouble if you waste a paper clip.’
      • ‘To get there, though, he must keep his nose clean.’
      • ‘But if you kept your nose clean and got on with your life, they left you alone.’
      • ‘The defendant was given five months to prove he can keep his nose clean after a judge said she wanted to see if he could stay out of trouble.’
      • ‘Deliver the essentials of municipal government, do not embarrass the city, keep your nose clean and we will re-elect you until the cows come home.’
      • ‘He can continue to practice law but must keep his nose clean.’
      • ‘Sienna is a real threat because she's younger - and has kept her nose clean.’
  • keep one's nose out of

    • informal Refrain from interfering in (someone else's affairs).

      • ‘I would appreciate you keeping your nose out of our business.’
      • ‘Mr. O'Grady says Miss Elizabeth should keep her nose out of where she isn't wanted.’
      • ‘I still think you should keep your nose out of other people's affairs.’
      • ‘He's never asked for me to help, and I don't want to risk the chance that he would rather me keep my nose out of our affairs, so haven't ever offered.’
      • ‘Inspired by Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, and in defiance of his widowed father's injunctions to keep his nose out of other people's business, Christopher decides to turn sleuth and track down the murderer.’
      • ‘He'd kept his nose out of their business, but they picked at him nevertheless.’
      • ‘I should have kept my nose out of their business and stayed at my job.’
      • ‘While I had been keeping my nose out of his business entirely, I had gotten two attempts on my life, at least one threat, and had given him plenty of clues which he didn't appreciate at all.’
      • ‘Why don't you keep your nose out of our business!’
      • ‘Had I been on my own, I would have kept my nose out of this situation.’
  • nose to tail

    • (of vehicles) moving or standing close behind one another, especially in heavy traffic.

      • ‘Normally it's nose to tail and covering nine miles in an hour is no certainty but on Saturday the traffic is freeflowing, even on the direct routes into the centre.’
      • ‘On Windsor Road it can be nose to tail traffic.’
      • ‘During working hours every yard of residential street frontage within a quarter of a mile of Caroline Square is parked up with cars nose to tail.’
      • ‘The traffic is nose to tail from 6.30 am till midnight.’
      • ‘Cars, nose to tail, parked down both sides of a main road, in and out of Bradford, are a cause for serious concern.’
      • ‘The only time I enjoy coming into work is when the traffic is nose to tail from the Bridge and I have brought the motorbike into work.’
      • ‘According to today's Standard ‘about 10 million motorists are expected on the roads, leaving main routes from London nose to tail with traffic’.’
      • ‘It's been nose to tail across this part of the city.’
      • ‘For some reason the number of cars is hugely increased these days - perhaps there are roadworks on one of the other possible routes - so that for about a quarter of a mile they were nose to tail back up the hill.’
      • ‘Sometimes I have to park on the main road and at other times I can't get out because cars are parked nose to tail.’
  • not see further than one's (or the end of one's) nose

    • Be unwilling or fail to consider different possibilities or to foresee the consequences of one's actions.

  • on the nose

    • 1To a person's sense of smell.

      ‘the wine is pungently smoky and peppery on the nose’
      • ‘Refreshing acidity, with ripe raspberry and cracked pepper on the nose.’
      • ‘This one presents peppery spice on the nose and a solid Old World palate.’
      • ‘There is a lot of white pepper on the nose and an underlying hint of marzipan.’
      • ‘This brings us to this fine Reserve Orvieto, which is cool and redolent of lime on the nose, has a succulent impact, then tumbles effortlessly to a refreshing and well balanced finish.’
      • ‘Light on the nose, with a wash that is sweet with notes of plum and boiling jam, its real problem is that, lacking any obvious tannic structure, it is perhaps a little too soft for its own good.’
      • ‘The dominant smell on the nose is of lemon sherbet and orange peel, followed on the palate by a solid, sweet vanillin mouthful.’
      • ‘This luminescent Italian rose has a sweetness on the nose and delicate spice on the palate that begs for a mouthful of chilled raspberries and a touch of vanilla ice-cream.’
      • ‘Sharp and focused on the nose, it has a soft, round palate with an oily sweetness.’
      • ‘The Montes Folly is a Syrah and is a blockbuster in style, with powerful pungent dark berries on the nose, rich, velvety succulence on the palate and a lengthy, Everest-like finish.’
      • ‘A touch of citrus on the nose; smooth and vibrant with pear overtones; a great value in white Burgundy.’
    • 2Precisely.

      ‘at ten on the nose the van pulled up’
      • ‘They made it to school by 8:05 on the nose, thanks to Leo's inability to follow state law and stay within the speed limit.’
      • ‘Then Vladimir showed at the restaurant promptly at seven on the nose.’
      exactly, precisely, sharp, on the dot
      View synonyms
    • 3(of betting) on a horse to win (as opposed to being placed).

      • ‘But Harlan's also just put the money on the nose of a dead-cert racing tip that, true to form, came in second.’
      • ‘Junior minister Jim McDaid is not a member of the cabinet any more, but last year he had one successful 20-1 shot, with €50 on the nose.’
  • put someone's nose out of joint

    • informal Upset or annoy someone.

      • ‘‘Totti will certainly put Del Piero's nose out of joint if the picture on the front page is anything to go by,’ says Magnus Blair.’
      • ‘Since starting this blog, more than one of these individuals has told me that things are different in Bermuda and that I should be careful what I say lest I put someone's nose out of joint.’
      • ‘So to put her nose out of joint because I also was feeling childish, I did some fairly ‘hard’ ones.’
      annoy, vex, make angry, make cross, anger, exasperate, bother, irk, gall, pique, put out, displease, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, try someone's patience, ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hackles
      View synonyms
  • speak through one's nose

    • Pronounce words with a nasal twang.

      • ‘I've even caught myself speaking through my nose at least twice, and the times I haven't noticed worry me more.’
      • ‘If you're a young man about town, you strut stiffly, head up, as if the place smells of disinfectant, put on a lofty expression and speak through your nose.’
      • ‘Instead she wants to say, ‘I'm just doing this ‘for the children’,’ he says, tossing his head back and speaking through his nose.’
  • turn one's nose up at something

    • informal Show distaste or contempt for.

      ‘he turned his nose up at the job’
      • ‘Everyone turns their nose up at the tofu, me included - it's not my favourite thing in the world but it's the universal vegetarian default food.’
      • ‘Teresa, tempted to stick her tongue out at her men for making disparaging remarks about women and their penchant for silly names, opted to turn her nose up at them.’
      • ‘However, at the risk of being accused, once again, at turning my nose up at something worthwhile, I do have to say that I have one or two reservations.’
      • ‘While many will have no use for this feature, it's hard to turn your nose up at it.’
      • ‘But she was peeved when model Catalina turned her nose up at her vegetarian shepherd's pie.’
      • ‘How could I turn my nose up at something that offers me more income.’
      • ‘It's easy for academics to turn their nose up at it, but time shows that it's wrong to say that because something is popular it isn't worthy.’
      • ‘On the other hand, this was going to give me a chance to lead from the front and surprise everyone, so I couldn't turn my nose up at it.’
      • ‘And if you're turning your nose up at all things frozen, you haven't been paying attention to Nigella Lawson recently.’
      • ‘I decided if I was going to continue turning my nose up at these products I should at least taste a few of them first.’
  • under someone's nose

    • 1informal Directly in front of someone.

      ‘he thrust the paper under the Inspector's nose’
      • ‘I had searched and searched for my path, and finally found that it was the one directly under my nose that I was used to.’
      • ‘He was just about to catch her when she doubled back, directly under his nose.’
      • ‘Walk past a restaurant and a waiter shoots out and thrusts a menu under your nose.’
      • ‘She shoved paper and a pen under my nose, and slipped some money into my purse.’
      • ‘She thrust her left hand under his nose, and watched while he examined the ring.’
      • ‘In a panic I took this paper from my pocket and thrust it under his nose.’
      • ‘Four movie tickets were thrust under his nose and brandished wildly.’
      • ‘I thrust the flyer under his nose, pointed at the single prohibition which was ‘No Trainers’ and wiggled my gleaming Oxford brogues at him.’
      • ‘Finally, I got enough courage and thrust the picture under his nose and blurted, ‘Can you do this?’’
      • ‘Well, I was just on my way home from school, looking at my feet while I was walking, when suddenly a piece of paper is shoved under my nose.’
      1. 1.1(of an action) committed openly and boldly, but without someone noticing or noticing in time to prevent it.
        ‘my phone was stolen from right under my nose’
        • ‘Two years ago, at this track, they stunned McLaren with a daring three-stop strategy which pinched the race from under McLaren's nose when the Woking team clearly had the faster race car.’
        • ‘This American version of Sky was snatched from under Murdoch's nose by another broadcasting entrepreneur, Charlie Ergen.’
        • ‘All three have been touted as potential suitors for the Edinburgh-based bank in the past, and may yet be able to persuade their shareholders that it is worth paying a hefty premium for whisking her away from under Halifax's nose.’
        • ‘You might not have noticed, but its happening right under your nose.’
        • ‘Vaughan's elevation to a world class batsman makes Yorkshire more pleased than ever that they were able to snatch the Manchester-born cricketer from under Lancashire's nose.’
        • ‘Hackett, it seems, was clutched from under Mowbray's nose and was supposed to make his debut yesterday.’
        • ‘You commit a brand-new federal crime right under the government's nose.’
        • ‘Whereas most people would be struggling after the first chorus, she practically steals the show from under Adams's nose.’
        • ‘You might not have heard about these cases, but they go on right under your nose.’
        • ‘With John Philips, also from the Ballyclare club, needing a win to nick second place from under Danielle's nose, it was always going to be a tough encounter.’
  • with one's nose in the air

    • Haughtily.

      ‘she walked past the cars with her nose in the air’
      • ‘‘You asked for it, walking on an icy road with your nose in the air,’ he told her sternly, then cracked another smile when she tried to furtively rub her backside.’
      • ‘No matter what happens, keep going around with your nose in the air.’
      • ‘‘All you have to do is hold a glass of champagne and walk around with your nose in the air, sniffing disdainfully,’ William grinned as he yanked on her arm.’
      • ‘The waiter, with his nose in the air, wasn't paying attention to anything.’
      • ‘She grabbed it firmly, got to her feet and walked past him with her nose in the air.’
      • ‘I suppose some fly fisherman do walk around with their nose in the air.’
      • ‘She is one of those middle class college graduates who walk down the streets with her nose in the air and head in the clouds; she would take one look at us and scurry down the block with her hand clutching her purse.’
      • ‘She was the beauty queen with her nose in the air and I was just the average height, dark haired, easily forgettable guy.’
      • ‘She continued to walk down the hall with her nose in the air.’
      • ‘He always figured a Princess would stand with her nose in the air, acting as though she were better than everyone else around her.’


Old English nosu, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch neus, and more remotely to German Nase, Latin nasus, and Sanskrit nāsā; also to ness.