nos·​tril | \ˈnä-strəl \

Definition of nostril 

1 : either of the external nares broadly : either of the nares with the adjoining passage on the same side of the septum

2 : either fleshy lateral wall of the nose

Examples of nostril in a Sentence

My left nostril is stuffed up. She left in a rage, her nostrils flaring.

Recent Examples on the Web

In this case, the eel was only a few inches into the nostril, so the first explanation is more likely. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Why Are Seals Getting Eels Stuck in Their Noses?," 7 Dec. 2018 Photographs show the white haze, sometimes shooting right at the nostrils of the curious animals, sometimes engulfing their tiny heads. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "‘Something wasn’t clicking’: WSU study shows offspring of pregnant rats exposed to THC have impaired development," 20 Nov. 2018 In the end, my nose would be smaller, with a straighter bridge, a refined tip, and more clearly defined nostrils. Allure, "I Got Rhinoplasty at 25 — Here's What to Expect From a Nose Job," 7 Aug. 2018 While calls for straw bans have accelerated in recent months, advocates consider the movement’s major boosters a social-media campaign and a 2015 YouTube video of a bloodied straw being pulled out of a sea turtle’s nostril. Bob Tita, WSJ, "The Summer of Plastic-Straw Bans: How We Got There," 7 Aug. 2018 To use, hold the nasal device up to a nostril and press the small ejector button on the end. Tessie Castillo, SELF, "Here’s How to Use the Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Naloxone," 26 July 2018 My blood pressure rose, and the dry heat from the oven cracked the skin of my nostrils and made my nose bleed. Charlie Anderle, Bon Appetit, "What It's Like to be Queer, Trans, Black, and a Line Cook," 3 May 2018 Shells and bullets whistled past, whipping up the earth and filling his nostrils, his mouth, making him choke. Mary Horlock, Longreads, "The Camouflage Artist: Two Worlds Wars, Two Loves, and One Great Deception," 21 June 2018 Over the centuries, this process produced a super breed, defined by its oversized nostrils and large lungs, which allowed Arabians to run far longer than other breeds. Peter Gwin, WSJ, "The Horses That Changed History," 19 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of nostril

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

History and Etymology for nostril

Middle English nosethirl, from Old English nosthyrl, from nosu nose + thyrel hole; akin to Old English thurh through

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Statistics for nostril

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for nostril

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

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More Definitions for nostril



English Language Learners Definition of nostril

: one of the two openings of the nose


nos·​tril | \ˈnä-strəl \

Kids Definition of nostril

: either of the outer openings of the nose through which people and many animals breathe


nos·​tril | \ˈnäs-trəl \

Medical Definition of nostril 

1 : either of the external nares broadly : either of the nares with the adjoining passage on the same side of the nasal septum

2 : either fleshy lateral wall of the nose

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More from Merriam-Webster on nostril

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nostril

Spanish Central: Translation of nostril

Nglish: Translation of nostril for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on nostril

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living or existing for a long time

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