cut off one's nose to spite one's face

Definition of cut off one's nose to spite one's face

:to do something that is meant to harm someone else but that also harms the person who does it
  • You can refuse to talk to her if you like, but you're just cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Word by Word Definitions

cut play
  1. : to penetrate with or as if with an edged instrument

  2. : to hurt the feelings of

  3. : to strike sharply with a cutting effect

  1. : a product of cutting: such as

  2. : an opening made with an edged instrument

  3. : a wound made by something sharp : gash

  1. : marked by a well-developed and highly defined musculature

off play
  1. : from a place or position

  2. : at a distance in space or time

  3. : from a course : aside

  1. used as a function word to indicate physical separation or distance from a position of rest, attachment, or union

  2. : to seaward of

  3. : from the possession or charge of

  1. : seaward

  2. : right

  3. : more removed or distant

  1. : to go away : depart

  2. : kill, murder

  1. : competition : contest

nose play
  1. : the part of the face that bears the nostrils and covers the anterior part of the nasal cavity

  2. : the anterior part of the head at the top or end of the muzzle : snout, proboscis

  3. : the sense of smell : olfaction

  1. : to detect by or as if by smell : scent

  2. : to push or move with the nose

  3. : to move (something, such as a vehicle) ahead slowly or cautiously

spite play
  1. : petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart

  2. : an instance of spite

  1. : annoy, offend

  2. : to fill with spite

  3. : to treat maliciously (as by shaming or thwarting)

face play
  1. : the front part of the head that in humans extends from the forehead to the chin and includes the mouth, nose, cheeks, and eyes

  2. : the face as a means of identification : countenance

  3. : presence, sight

  1. : to confront impudently

  2. : to line near the edge especially with a different material

  3. : to cover the front or surface of


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up cut off one's nose to spite one's face? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

all at once

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!