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

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 The signpost that reoccurs most often for me is the smell of lemon zest, almost fizzy in its direct attack on my nostrils. Frances Leech, Longreads, "Forgetting the Madeleine," 3 May 2018 ABC News reported the condom challenge first appeared in 2007 when a video of someone snorting an unwrapped condom up their nostril and trying to pull it back out of their mouth appeared on YouTube. Linley Sanders, Teen Vogue, "What the Condom Challenge Can Do to Your Body," 3 Apr. 2018 This graphic video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nostril went viral in 2015, causing many environmental activists to take action. Claire Wolters,, "Twitter can't agree on Starbucks' straw ban," 12 July 2018 The pharaohs of ancient Egypt were mummified with peppercorns in their nostrils, presumably to signify their high status in the afterlife. Teresa Graedon, The Seattle Times, "Black pepper is rich in benefits," 25 Feb. 2018 Viral videos – including one depicting researchers extracting a plastic straw from a sea turtle's bleeding nostril -- is prompting some companies and municipalities to find ocean-friendlier alternatives. CBS News, "Starbucks plans to stop offering plastic straws by 2020," 9 July 2018 The videos showing teenagers inhaling condoms through their nostrils, only to pull them out through their mouths. Heidi Stevens,, "Calm down about the condom challenge, grown-ups," 2 Apr. 2018 How does the vibration in the back of his throat and through his nostrils not rouse him? Meredith Bodgas, Woman's Day, "The 10 Stages of Being Awoken by Your Husband's Snoring," 29 July 2015

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

4 Oct 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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Comments on nostril

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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