American English

Definition of nose noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] the part of the face that sticks out above the mouth, used for breathing and smelling things He broke his nose in the fight. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. He pressed his nose up against the window. He blew his nose (= cleared it by blowing strongly into a handkerchief ). a stuffed-up/runny nose Stop picking your nose! (= removing dried mucus from it with your finger) Topic CollocationsPhysical AppearanceA person may be described as having:eyes (bright) blue/green/(dark/light) brown/hazel eyes deep-set/sunken/bulging/protruding eyes small/beady/sparkling/twinkling/shifty eyes piercing/penetrating/steely eyes bloodshot/watery/puffy eyes bushy/thick/dark/raised/arched eyebrows long/dark/thick/curly/false eyelashes/lashesface a flat/bulbous/pointed/sharp/snub nose a straight/a pointy/a Roman/an aquiline nose full/thick/thin/pouty lips dry/chapped/cracked lips flushed/rosy/red/ruddy/pale cheeks soft/chubby/sunken cheeks white/perfect/crooked/protruding teeth a large/high/broad/wide forehead a strong/weak/pointed/double chin a long/full/bushy/wispy beard a full/thin goatee a long/thin/bushy/droopy/handlebar/pencil mustachehair and skin pale/fair/olive/dark/tanned skin dry/oily/smooth/rough/leathery/wrinkled skin a dark/pale/light/sallow/ruddy/olive/swarthy/clear complexion deep/fine/small/facial wrinkles blonde/blond/fair/(light/dark) brown/(jet-)black/auburn/red/ginger/gray hair straight/curly/wavy/frizzy/spiky hair thick/thin/fine/bushy/thinning hair dyed/bleached/soft/silky/dry/greasy/shiny hair long/short/shoulder-length/cropped hair a bald/balding/shaved head a receding hairline a bald patch/spot a side/center partbody a long/short/thick/slender/ (disapproving) scrawny neck broad/narrow/sloping/rounded/hunched shoulders a bare/broad/muscular/small/large chest a flat/round/swollen/bulging stomach a small/tiny/narrow/slim/slender/28-inch waist big/wide/narrow/slim hips a straight/bent/arched/broad/hairy back thin/slender/muscular arms big/large/small/manicured/calloused/gloved hands long/short/fat/slender/delicate/bony fingers long/muscular/hairy/shapely/ (informal) (often disapproving) skinny/spindly legs muscular/chubby/ (informal) (disapproving) flabby thighs/calves big/little/small/dainty/wide/narrow/bare feet a good/slim/slender/hourglass figure be of slim/medium/average/large/athletic/stocky build see also nasal, pope's nose, Roman nose
  2. 2-nosed (in adjectives) having the type of nose mentioned red-nosed large-nosed see also hard-nosed
  3. 3[countable] the front part of a plane, spacecraft, etc. Heat detectors are fitted in the nose of the missile.
  4. 4[singular] a nose for something a special ability for finding or recognizing something synonym instinct As a journalist, she has always had a nose for a good story.
  5. 5[singular] a sense of smell a dog with a good nose
  6. 6[singular] (of wine) a characteristic smell synonym bouquet
  7. Idioms
    cut off your nose to spite your face (informal)
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    to do something when you are angry that is meant to harm someone else but that also harms you
      follow your nose
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    1. 1to be guided by your sense of smell
    2. 2to go straight forward The garage is a mile ahead up the hill—just follow your nose.
    3. 3to act according to what seems right or reasonable, rather than following any particular rules
    have your nose in something (informal)
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    to be reading something and giving it all your attention Peter always has his nose in a book.
    it's no skin off my, your, his, etc. nose/back (informal)
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    used to say that someone is not upset or annoyed about something because it does not affect them in a bad way
    keep your nose clean (informal)
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    to avoid doing anything wrong or illegal Since leaving prison, he's managed to keep his nose clean.
    keep your nose out of something
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    to try not to become involved in things that do not concern you
    keep your nose to the grindstone (informal)
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    to work hard for a long period of time without stopping
    lead somebody by the nose
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    to make someone do everything you want; to control someone completely
    look down your nose at somebody/something (informal)
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    to behave in a way that suggests that you think that you are better than someone or that something is not good enough for you synonym look down on somebody/something
    on the nose (informal)
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    exactly The budget should hit the $136 billion target on the nose.
    pay through the nose (for something) (informal)
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    to pay much too much money for something
    (as) plain as the nose on your face
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    very obvious
    poke/stick your nose into something (informal)
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    to try to become involved in something that does not concern you He's always poking his nose into other people's business.
    powder your nose (old-fashioned)
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    a polite way of referring to the fact that a woman is going to the bathroom I'm just going to powder my nose.
    put somebody's nose out of joint (informal)
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    to upset or annoy someone, especially by not giving them enough attention
    rub somebody's nose in it (informal)
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    to keep reminding someone in an unkind way of their past mistakes
    thumb your nose at somebody/something
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    to make a rude sign with your thumb on your nose; to show that you have no respect for someone or something The company just thumbs its nose at the legislation on pollution.
    turn your nose up at something (informal)
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    to refuse something, especially because you do not think that it is good enough for you
      under somebody's nose (informal)
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    1. 1if something is under someone's nose, it is very close to them but they cannot see it I searched everywhere for the letter and it was under my nose all the time!
    2. 2if something happens under someone's nose, they do not notice it even though it is not being done secretly The police didn't know the drug ring was operating right under their noses.
    with your nose in the air (informal)
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    in a way that is unfriendly and suggests that you think that you are better than other people
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: nose