Definition of nostril in US English:



  • Either of two external openings of the nasal cavity in vertebrates that admit air to the lungs and smells to the olfactory nerves.

    • ‘Their smells floated into his nostrils, each one distinct, unique, intoxicating.’
    • ‘I could see the group standing nervously on the river bank, their nostrils flaring wildly.’
    • ‘He was about to reach shore, but then the haunting smell reached his nostrils again.’
    • ‘Tilt their head back, lift up the chin, and pinch the nostrils together.’
    • ‘Humans may have two nostrils, but these don't necessarily share the same sense of smell.’
    • ‘Your surgeon will make cuts inside your nostrils to reach the bone and cartilage.’
    • ‘Touch your thumb to your right nostril and your ring finger to your left nostril.’
    • ‘So if you're putting it into your right nostril you should lean towards your right ear, with your head forward.’
    • ‘By their shape, she must have assumed that they were to be fitted into her nostrils.’
    • ‘I shuddered as its piercing smell shot through my nostrils and into my poor head.’
    • ‘The sight sickened her, as the smell reached her nostrils - decay, excrement and urine.’
    • ‘The jelly or nose spray is put just inside your nostril on the septum.’
    • ‘A hole is pierced through the skin and cartilage of the nostril.’
    • ‘Plug the other nostril and have the child gently blow through the nostril where the object is stuck.’
    • ‘Both specimens were obtained without instillation of any solution into the nostrils.’
    • ‘Fluid was collected from the left nostril and found to be sterile.’
    • ‘If you just close one nostril and breathe out and then close the other nostril and breathe out you'll notice one of them is more open than the other.’
    • ‘Then, with the nosepiece inserted into the nostril, aim the spray towards the inner corner of the eye.’
    • ‘The trunk is actually an elongation of the nose and has nostrils on the tip.’
    • ‘Place your index finger of your right hand between your eyebrows, your thumb on your right nostril and your ring finger on your left nostril.’


Old English nosterl, nosthyrl, from nosu ‘nose’ + thȳr(e)l ‘hole’.