Definition of on the nose in US English:

on the nose


  • 1To a person's sense of smell.

    ‘the wine is pungently smoky and peppery on the nose’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A touch of citrus on the nose; smooth and vibrant with pear overtones; a great value in white Burgundy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dominant smell on the nose is of lemon sherbet and orange peel, followed on the palate by a solid, sweet vanillin mouthful.’
    • ‘Refreshing acidity, with ripe raspberry and cracked pepper on the nose.’
    • ‘There is a lot of white pepper on the nose and an underlying hint of marzipan.’
    • ‘This one presents peppery spice on the nose and a solid Old World palate.’
    • ‘Sharp and focused on the nose, it has a soft, round palate with an oily sweetness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2North American informal Precisely.

    ‘at ten on the nose the van pulled up’
    • ‘Then Vladimir showed at the restaurant promptly at seven on the nose.’
    • ‘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.’
    exactly, precisely, sharp, on the dot
    View synonyms
  • 3informal (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.’