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 The test -- the Pixel by Labcorp -- is designed for users taking a swab of their nostril and then sticking it into a solution. Matthew Vann, ABC News, "US vaccinations are increasing, but what happened to COVID-19 testing?," 12 Apr. 2021 Failing and then flailing, a bored Reardon put a magnet in his nostril. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "Misinformation and Miscalculation in the Time of the Coronavirus," 26 May 2020 Heading into the D-Day remembrance weekend this year, only the salty brine coming off the ocean on Omaha Beach hits the nostrils, the shrieks of seagulls pierce the ears and a sense of desolation hangs across the region's country roads. Fox News, "On sad anniversary, few to mourn the D-Day dead in Normandy," 5 June 2020 Not quite in the same way as whisky fumes in the nostrils, though. The Economist, "Schumpeter Farewell for now to a golden age of drinking," 23 May 2020 Draw deeply on the cigar, expand the nostrils to take in oxygen, reach slowly over the side of the tub to flick ash into the toilet. Katherine Dunn, The New Yorker, "The Resident Poet," 4 May 2020 Those swabs, from all over Alaska, have been deep within the nostrils of people who might have the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Anchorage Daily News, "In Fairbanks, the state virology lab remains busy during a quiet time of pandemic," 25 Apr. 2020 The intercoolers are 12 percent larger and are fed cooling air more efficiently than before, through both the nostrils in the rear fenders and by two large vents in the rear decklid. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Reminds Us What Fast Feels Like," 7 Apr. 2020 Mom covers the child's mouth with her mouth to form a seal, blocks the clear nostril with her finger then blows into the mouth. Markian Hawryluk And Heidi De Marco,, "Nothing to sneeze at: The $2,659 bill to pluck doll’s shoe from child’s nostril," 2 Dec. 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

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nostril.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on nostril

Nglish: Translation of nostril for Spanish Speakers

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

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