Nose idioms | List of Nose idioms With Meaning and Examples

Nose idioms: The nose, one of the most prominent features on one’s face, is often used as an idiom. Idioms related to the nose help us in making our use of the language more polished and fluent. There are various idioms about the nose which express the importance and use of this feature.

We have designed a list of useful idioms and phrases with the nose which will help one in expanding their knowledge and language skills. Until today you only knew the biological uses of the nose, but now, we will help you understand the idioms related to the nose with meaning.

Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understand their actual meaning.

Name of Nose idioms

List of Nose idioms

Meaning and Examples of some commonly used Nose idioms

On the nose

Meaning: If something is on the nose, it is exact or precise.

Example: The chicken that Jamie bought yesterday weighed 10 kilograms on the nose.

Rub someone’s nose in something

Meaning: Rubbing someone’s into something means reminding someone of

Example: Jackson knows what his fault is, and he is constantly regretting it. Don’t rub his nose in it.

Stick your nose into something

Meaning: Sticking one’s nose into something is meddling or interfering, especially in someone else’s affair.

Example: I don’t like Jessica at all. She has a bad habit of sticking her nose into everyone’s business.

Cut off your nose to spite your face.

Meaning: To cut off one’s nose to spite their face implies injuring themselves when taking revenge on someone else.

Example: I understand that you are mad at your sister for not making it to your birthday party, but if you stop talking to her, it will just make life harder – don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

Right under your nose

Meaning: If something is right under one’s nose, it implies that it is in a place that can be very easily found or seen.

Example: How can you not know to see the yellow tie on the chair? It’s right under your nose.

Have your nose in the air

Meaning: If one has their nose in the air, it implies to act as though others are inferior or less important.

Example: You will not be able to get along with anyone at your school if you have your nose in the air like that.

List of Nose Idioms 1

It’s no skin off someone’s nose.

Meaning: Something is no skin off someone’s nose if it is of no interest or concern to them.

Example: Absolutely, it’s no skin off someone’s skin if Emily wants to meet on Wednesday instead of Thursday. We can reschedule the meeting.

Keep your nose clean.

Meaning: To keep one’s nose clean implies staying out of trouble and behaving properly.

Example: Sheena worked hard and has kept her nose clean for all these years. Her reputation is spotless.

Have a nose of something

Meaning: To a nose for something implies to have the natural ability of understanding or doing something.

Example: Shah rukh has always had a nose for learning a musical instrument. This summer, he started taking guitar lessons.

Powder one’s nose

Meaning: To use the washroom – used primarily by women.

Example: Sheena is in the restroom powdering her nose. You should place your order while she’s gone.

Nose out of joint

Meaning: If something puts one’s nose out of joint, it annoys or defends them.

Example: When Akash discovered that he wasn’t invited to Aisha’s birthday party, that put his nose out of joint.

Follow your nose

Meaning: If one follows their nose, they go straight ahead – this can also imply to follow one’s life instinct.

Example: The principal’s office is at the end of this corridor – just follow your nose.

Have your nose in a book

Meaning: If one has their nose in a book, they are totally concentrated on the book they are reading.

Example: During the entire train ride, Disha had her nose in a book.

Keep nose to the grindstone.

Meaning: An individual who keeps their nose to the grindstone is someone concentrating on work or studying hard.

Example: Kylie was so determined to get selected in the job interview; she kept her nose to the grindstone all month.

Led by the nose

Meaning: Someone led by the nose is controlled or dominated by an individual or a group who makes them do precisely what they want.

Example: I feel really bad for Ankush; the nose has led him by his wife since their marriage.

Lockdown one’s nose

Meaning: If an individual looks down their nose at an individual, that person or thing is inferior.

Example: Even though engineering is one of the most challenging education fields, theoretical physicists often look down their noses at engineers.

No skin off someone’s else

Meaning: To use the expression implies that one doesn’t care if something happens.

Example: It’s no skin off my nose if Jenna makes it to the wedding – I don’t care one way or another.

Turn up one’s nose

Meaning: If one turns up one’s nose to something, they reject it as they think it is not good enough for them.

Example: She is not currently employed anywhere, but she turns up her nose at any job offer that comes her way.

Win by a nose

Meaning: When there is a slight difference between the winner and the other competitors, victory is won by a nose.

Example: One second ahead by the other racers, she won by a nose.

(One) can’t look beyond the end of (one’s) nose

Meaning: When one is preoccupied with themselves and unable to focus or notice anything else.

Example: Of course, he has no idea about the dire situation in Afghanistan – he can’t look beyond the end of his nose.

(One’s) the nose is (always) in the air

Meaning: One (always) has a condescending, arrogant or disdainful attitude or manner.

Example: No one in the neighbourhood cares for Diya. It just seems like her nose is always in the air whenever she is socializing with us.

A camel’s nose (under the tent)

Meaning: A seemingly small innocuous decision or act that will lead to more serious, much larger and less desirable consequences down the line.

Example: Not hiring an engineer during the time of pandemic has proven to be a camel’s nose – so many projects we have lost because of that.

A nose for (something)

Meaning: An intuitive ability to detect or excelling at something.

Example: I’ve been able to learn various dance forms quickly. I guess I’ve always had the nose for it.

Be as plain as the nose on (one’s) face

Meaning: To be very noticeable or obvious.

Example: You both are totally in love with each other – it is as plain as the nose on your face.

Bite off (one’s) nose to spite (one’s) face

Meaning: Seeking retribution against someone else in a manner which is ultimately disadvantageous or harmful to oneself.

Example: She fired Taylor for criticizing her managerial skills, but Taylor accounts for nearly 80% of her branch yearly sales, so all she’s done is bitten off her nose to spite her face.

Bloody nose strike

Meaning: A pre-emptive military intended for accomplishing some objective when being limited enough in scope for ideally preventing retaliation by the target.

Example: Sir, I am worried that a bloody nose strike is going to cause them to attack us more firmly in return.

Blow (one’s) nose

Meaning: Breathing forcefully via the nose for expelling mucus into a tissue.

Example: My daughter’s allergies are so bad right now that she needs to blow her nose constantly just to be able to breathe.


Meaning: Trying to curry favour from someone through favours or flattery in the hopes that they get something in return.

Example: I’m not doing well at all in science this semester, so I think brownnosing the professor is the only option for getting good grades.

Button nose

Meaning: A round, small and slightly flattened nose, generally considered a charming or cute feature.

Example: Sana’s face with the freckled cheeks, button nose and large eyes impressed the audience everywhere.

Count noses

Meaning: Used for counting the number of people in a particular group for ensuring that everyone is present.

Example: The teacher asked all the students to settle down so that she could count noses before we left for the trip.

Following (one’s) nose

Meaning: To trust one’s instinct when making a judgement or decision or taking action.

Example: My father always followed his nose when he was in a difficult situation or needed to decide. This has helped him avoid many problems.

Get (one’s) nose out of (someone’s) business.

Meaning: To stop involving themselves in any intrusive or nose manner in something which is not their business or responsibility.

Example: I wish my relatives would get their nose out of my business and just let me handle my matters.

Get up (one’s) nose

Meaning: To irritate or annoy someone.

Example: Her lousy attitude is really getting up everyone’s nose.

Give (one) a bloody nose.

Meaning: Literally causing someone’s nose to bleed, mainly by hitting them.

Example: Jimmy was annoying a little girl in the neighbourhood. Her brother gave Jimmy a bloody nose for his behaviour.

Nose about

Meaning: To look through things or make observations, often stealthily or subtly, in the attempt to discover something.

Example: I nosed about dad’s cabinets looking for his alcohol stash but couldn’t find even one bottle.

Nose habit

Meaning: The addiction to or habitual narcotics use that people snort up their nostrils – primarily cocaine.

Example: She developed a harmful and expensive nose habit that got her into jail.

Nose in

Meaning: Moving forward very cautiously or slowly.

Example: I think you have enough space to get into to the spot – just nose in the car a little bit at a time.

Nose job

Meaning: A surgical cosmetic procedure for altering the shape or/and the size of one’s nose.

Example: She wants to get a nose job with the money that her mother left her, but I’m trying to convince her to do something more practical.

Nose or a group chat

Meaning: Locating something by the use of one’s nose.

Example: The murderer may be hiding at the moment, but these bloodhounds will nose him out.

Have (got) (one’s) nose out of joint

Meaning: To be irritated, upset or discouraged generally by something someone else said or did.

Example: My mother has her nose out of joint about something today; my father didn’t want to bother her about anything until it was absolutely necessary.

Nose test

Meaning: The act of smelling something to determine it.

Example: Are you worried that the leftovers have gone bad? Give them a nose test which will make your doubt clear.


Meaning: A mass of mucus produced from one’s lungs, nasal passage or throat by coughing or snorting.

Example: My son had a horrible chest infection, so he spent the entire week coughing up nose-lungers in bed.


Meaning: A person who uses their fingers for removing mucus from their nose.

Example: My mother was determined to ensure that my siblings and I don’t become nose-pickers.


Meaning: A very short pipe used for smoking marijuana or tobacco.

Example: My father used to smoke tobacco out of a small nose-warmer after each meal – even breakfast.

Pay through the nose (for something)

Meaning: To pay an immense amount of money (for something) – significantly more than it is reasonable.

Example: There are many universities that offer free education to their students, but in my university, students have to pay through the nose to pay for their degree.

Pope’s nose

Meaning: The fatty tail of any cooked fowl, especially a chicken.

Example: When we were young, it was always a special treat to get the pope’s nose off the Sunday night roast chicken.

Rum nose

Meaning: A swollen, red, bumpy appearance to one’s nose generally ascribed to long-term alcohol abuse.

Example: The old drunk man had all the stereotypical traits of an alcoholic – dishevelled clothes, a chronic hiccup and a bright red rum nose.

See no further than (the end of) (one’s) own nose.

Meaning: To lack the ability to foresee issues, problems or obligations beyond the present or immediate future.

Example: This country is in the hands of greedy political leaders who are unable to see no further than the end of their own noses.

Ski nose

Meaning: A nose that curves upward at the tip, which resembles the chute used for ski jumping.

Example: I got my ski nose from the father’s side of my family – I totally hate it.

List of Nose Idioms 2

Strap on the (old) nosebag

Meaning: To have a meal or begin eating.

Example: I can’t wait to visit my grandma this thanksgiving and strap on the old nosebag – she is the best cook in the world.

Take (something) on the nose.

Meaning: To accept or endure something negative, especially with poise or stoicism.

Example: I know the loss of your job is making you feel down, but you just have to take it on your nose and work harder tomorrow.

The nose knows

Meaning: The odour that has made something obvious.

Example: Oh, the nose knows – you kids were smoking in the garage, weren’t you?

The nosebleeds

Meaning: A seating is very high up in a theatre or stadium – especially for musical performance, sporting events, plays etc.

Example: I waited way too long to get the tickets to the game, so all that was left was a seat in the nosebleeds way in the back.

Thumb (one’s) nose at (something or someone)

Meaning: To literally perform a rude gesture in which an individual touches their nose to their thumb for expressing lack of respect or contempt.

Example: Don’t thumb your nose in front of the boss if you want to keep your job.


Meaning: Describing an individual who believes they are superior to others, especially for their social class or rank.

Example: Feel free to have dinner with the toffee-nosed snobs – I’m not coming with you.

Win (something) by a nose

Meaning: To succeed or defeat anyone in something by only a very narrow margin.

Example: Making significant gains during the last lap, the underdog contestant managed to overtake the reigning champion and win the race by a nose.

Go into a nosedive

Meaning: To rapidly and suddenly begin to decline in emotional, physical or psychological stability or health.

Example: My grandmother held out bravely in her fight against cancer, but I’m afraid she’s gone into a nosedive in the last few weeks.

Banana nose

Meaning: Someone who has such a nose.

Example: Janet has always been insecure about her banana nose, which is why she got a nose job.

Nose candy

Meaning: Cocaine (a drug) in a powdered form, generally ingested by snorting through the nose.

Example: The house party was already too wild for me, but as the nose candy started making an appearance, I knew it was time to leave.66666

Nose hit

Meaning: In the sport of curling, a hit on a stone on the point that is closest to the shooter.

Example: Three well-placed nose hits in a row put the Australian team in a prime position for a second consecutive gold medal.

Nose of wax

Meaning: Something or someone which can be easily changed or influenced.

Example: You have to set some boundaries if you want to stop them from treating you like a nose of wax.

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