nos·​tril | \ ˈnä-strəl How to pronounce nostril (audio) \

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 Finally, a maggot falls out of one of Enkidu’s nostrils. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, "How to Read “Gilgamesh”," 7 Oct. 2019 Beyond the normal array of smells available to the human nostril, a rat can detect chemicals indicating a change in atmosphere or emotion. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NYC Has a New Secret Weapon to Defeat All the Rats," 18 Sep. 2019 In the summer, researchers will have to contend with the blazing sun, which can burn their eyes, the insides of their nostrils and even the roof of their mouth. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Marooned: Researchers Will Freeze Their Ship into Arctic Ocean Ice for a Year," 17 Sep. 2019 McFetridge’s Buddha has a thoughtful look, with deep-set closed eyes, a perfectly proportional nose with open nostrils, full lips and 2-foot ears. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Environmental warrior Duncan McFetridge’s path leads to Buddha," 8 Aug. 2019 Bad Bunny said from Puerto Rico, beating his chest in a yellow hoodie and two nose rings (nostril, septum), in between bites of a hefty calzone. Joe Coscarelli, New York Times, "How J Balvin and Bad Bunny Made Their Surprise Album, ‘Oasis’," 28 June 2019 The potential harm of ocean waste, particularly from plastic straws, drew widespread attention after a 2015 YouTube video of a sea turtle with a straw up its nostril went viral. Gina Martinez, Time, "Starbucks Is Ditching Plastic Straws. Here Are 3 of the Most Common Alternatives," 9 July 2018 After the second one, Joshua got up and stood in the corner, leaning on the ropes, blood flowing from his left nostril. The New Yorker, "Andy Ruiz Shocked the Boxing World—Now He’s Trying to Do It Again," 6 Dec. 2019 Dignity Health billed the Bransons $1,143 for Lucy’s emergency room visit and $589 for removing the doll shoe from her nostril. Markian Hawryluk,, "Parents Get $2,659 Emergency Room Bill for Doctor to Pluck Doll's Shoe from Daughter's Nostril," 27 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for nostril

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for nostril

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nostril.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for nostril


How to pronounce nostril (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nostril

: one of the two openings of the nose


nos·​tril | \ ˈnä-strəl How to pronounce nostril (audio) \

Kids Definition of nostril

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


nos·​tril | \ ˈnäs-trəl How to pronounce nostril (audio) \

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

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


good-natured easy friendliness

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