\ ˈnōz How to pronounce nose (audio) \

Definition of nose

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the part of the face that bears the nostrils and covers the anterior part of the nasal cavity broadly : this part together with the nasal cavity
b : the anterior part of the head at the top or end of the muzzle : snout, proboscis
2a : the sense of smell : olfaction
3 : the vertebrate olfactory organ
4a : the forward end or projection of something
b : the projecting or working end of a tool
5 : the stem of a boat or its protective metal covering
6a : the nose as a symbol of prying or meddling curiosity or interference
b : a knack for discovery or understanding a keen nose for absurdity
on the nose
1a : at or to a target point the bombs landed right on the nose
b(1) : on target : accurate
2 : to win used of horse or dog racing bets
under one's nose
: extremely near to one the answer was right under our noses also : brazenly in or as if in one's presence embezzling funds right under his nose


nosed; nosing

Definition of nose (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to detect by or as if by smell : scent
2a : to push or move with the nose
b : to move (something, such as a vehicle) ahead slowly or cautiously nosed my car into the parking space
3 : to touch or rub with the nose : nuzzle

intransitive verb

1 : to use the nose in examining, smelling, or showing affection
2a : to search impertinently : pry
3 : to move ahead slowly or cautiously the boat nosed around the bend
4 : to move the forward end in a specified direction the plane nosed up
5 : to advance into a slight lead

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for nose

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of nose in a Sentence

Noun The ball hit me right on the nose. You need to wipe your nose. I have a runny nose. the long nose of the anteater He got some water up his nose. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. That dog has a good nose. The whale measures 40 feet from nose to tail. Verb The horse nosed my hand. Some animal must have nosed the lid off the garbage can. The dog nosed the door open. The dogs were nosing around in the garbage. The boat nosed around the bend. I nosed my car into the parking space. The car nosed its way into the street.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jones proved to have quite the nose for the end zone, finishing tied for the league lead in total touchdowns (19). John Owning, Dallas News, "The NFL’s top 10 RBs entering 2020: Is the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott the league’s best running back?," 7 Feb. 2020 Like most successful mayors, Max has a nose for politics. Mireya Villarreal, CBS News, "Mayor Max the golden retriever proves he has a nose for politics," 4 Feb. 2020 Ricky Seals-Jones had a nose for the end zone, with four of his 14 catches being touchdowns. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Kevin Stefanski could have less use for a No. 3 receiver than the Browns did in 2019," 24 Jan. 2020 Covington had long arms, quick hands and a nose for the ball. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The NBA’s Best Teams Are Battling for—Wait, Who?," 22 Jan. 2020 If your snot is clear, but also runny and more abundant than usual, that often means your nose is working overtime to try to get rid of something in there that your body doesn’t like, typically an allergen or irritant, Dr. Sindwani says. Amy Marturana Winderl, SELF, "What Your Snot Can Tell You About Your Health," 25 Dec. 2019 The victim had a scratch across the bridge of her nose and scratches on her chest, and her lip was cut and swollen, the statement reads. Mary Grace Keller,, "Westminster man charged with assault after allegedly pulling woman’s hair, shoving her into railing," 4 Dec. 2019 Produced from a blend of 54% Pinot Noir and 46% Chardonnay, the 2003 cuvée has a charming nose with aromas of citrus fruits, roasted coffee, candied apricot, and brioche. Rachel King, Fortune, "The Champagnes and Sparkling Wines Worth Popping for All Your Holiday Festivities," 1 Dec. 2019 The senior tailback has had little room to run all season, but has been a valuable receiver and continues to show a nose for the end zone. Edgar Thompson,, "10 things we learned from Gators’ 23-6 win at Missouri," 15 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Federal investigators say a surviving passenger of a deadly floatplane crash in Alaska reported that the aircraft nosed over abruptly after hitting a swell or wave during takeoff, causing the cabin to quickly fill with water., "Report: Floatplane in Alaska crash that killed Annapolis businessman hit swell or wave," 1 Aug. 2019 The colleagues nosing in to offer unsolicited opinions to the grill master could be neighbors at a backyard barbecue; the only thing missing is beer. Catherine Blinder,, "Firehouse dinner: Cooking, camaraderie and a shared meal at Hartford’s West End Station," 17 Sep. 2019 Impossible to nose was a happy accident; I was supposed to land on my truck. Eric Todisco,, "Tony Hawk Claps Back at Instagram Troll Who Made 'Homophobic' Joke About Him Wearing a Helmet," 23 Dec. 2019 Confidence: Medium Sunday may trend a touch cooler and a little less humid as high pressure tries to nose its way in from the north. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Back and forth from beautifully warm to rather hot," 25 Sep. 2019 Pence spoke in the sun room of the vice president’s residence, as their Australian shepherd, Harley, tried to nose his way into the interview and their cat, Hazel, perched over her shoulder. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, "'Put me in coach': Second Lady Karen Pence embraces bigger role on 2020 campaign trail," 21 Sep. 2019 Out of the three options of bratwurst, blood sausage and kielbasa ($12 each), the blood sausage noses its way to the front of the pack, its earthy notes anchored by accoutrements of apple butter and lentils. Soleil Ho,, "Dear Inga will take you home," 19 Dec. 2019 In any case, in the space race that consumed the world’s two great powers for almost two decades, the Americans nosed past in 1969 with the Apollo 11 landing. The Economist, "Obituary: Alexei Leonov died on October 11th," 19 Oct. 2019 The area covered by Precinct 3 for county commissioner is an interesting one, starting on the east end of Galveston Island and nosing north through La Marque, and parts of Texas City, Dickinson and League City. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, "Filing period for March primaries in Galveston County comes to a close," 13 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nose


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1577, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for nose


Middle English, from Old English nosu; akin to Old High German nasa nose, Latin nasus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nose

Time Traveler for nose

Time Traveler

The first known use of nose was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for nose

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nose


How to pronounce nose (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nose

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the part of the face or head through which a person or animal smells and breathes
: the ability to smell things : the sense of smell
: the front end or part of something



English Language Learners Definition of nose (Entry 2 of 2)

: to push or move (something) with the nose
of an animal : to search for or find something by smelling
: to move forward slowly or carefully


\ ˈnōz How to pronounce nose (audio) \

Kids Definition of nose

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of the face or head that contains the nostrils
2 : the sense or organ of smell Most dogs have a good nose.
3 : the front end or part of something the nose of an airplane
4 : an ability to discover She's got a nose for news.

Other Words from nose

nosed \ ˈnōzd \ adjective long-nosed


nosed; nosing

Kids Definition of nose (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to search for or find by smelling The dog nosed around in the garbage.
2 : to touch or rub with the nose : nuzzle The horse nosed my hand.
3 : to search for especially in an unwelcome way : pry Stop nosing around in my business.
4 : to move ahead slowly or carefully … the boat was nosing its way between the rocks out to the open sea.— Pearl S. Buck, The Big Wave


\ ˈnōz How to pronounce nose (audio) \

Medical Definition of nose

1a : the part of the face that bears the nostrils and covers the anterior part of the nasal cavity broadly : this part together with the nasal cavity
b : the anterior part of the head above or projecting beyond the muzzle
2 : the sense of smell : olfaction

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on nose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nose

Spanish Central: Translation of nose

Nglish: Translation of nose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nose for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nose

Comments on nose

What made you want to look up nose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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