Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nose v.

1. [mid-17C–early 18C] to make a fool of, to fool, to dupe, to sneer at [? SE phr. lead by the nose].

2. to ‘put one’s nose into’.

(a) [mid-17C+] to pry into someone else’s proceedings.

(b) [19C] to inform against; esp. in phr. nose upon.

(c) [1900s] (UK und.) to see, to recognise.

3. in senses of violence.

(a) [late 18C–early 19C] to bully.

(b) [late 19C–1900s] to hit on the nose.

4. [1910s+] (US) to curry favour [abbr. brown-nose v.].

5. [1920s-30s] (US) to investigate in pursuit of one’s own advantage.

In phrases

nose around (v.) (also nose, nose about)

1. [mid-19C+] to search, to look over, to survey; thus also as n.

2. [1920s+] to interfere (in).

3. [1970s] to spread rumours, to gossip about.

nose for (v.)

[late 19C–1900s] (US) to pursue, to hunt down.

nose in (v.)

[1930s] (US) to appear, to arrive.