Idioms: 10 ways to use your "nose"

There are a lot of idioms in English that use the word "nose". Apparently, we like to talk about our noses a lot! Here are just 10 (out of dozens) to add to your phrasebook—plus a bonus one to amaze your friends and colleagues with.

  1. to be nosy—to want to know about other people's private lives.
  2. to poke/stick your nose into—to interfere in other people's lives.
  3. to keep your nose out of—not to interfere in other people's lives (usually told to someone, e.g., "Keep your nose out of it!").
  4. under your nose—something that happens very close to you without you noticing (e.g., "My dog stole my sandwich from right under my nose!").
  5. to follow your nose—to proceed by instinct, not by rational thought.
  6. to pay through the nose—to pay for something that's priced too high.
  7. to look down your nose at—to think you're better than other people.
  8. to turn up your nose at—to reject something (often something that someone else thinks would be good for you, e.g., "She turned up her nose at that great job offer because she'd rather hang out with her friends.")
  9. to put your nose to the grindstone—to work hard.
  10. as plain as the nose on your face—something that's really obvious.


  • to cut your nose off to spite your face—to make a choice that hurts you when you want to hurt someone else (e.g., "Why did you decide not to go to the party just to show him you're angry? You're cutting your nose off to spite your face.")

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