Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nose n.

1. [late 18C+] (also copper’s nose) a police spy, an informer [20C+ use is US prison].

2. [mid-19C+] a detective.

3. [1960s+] (drugs) heroin or cocaine [one can inhale them through the nose].

In compounds

nose around (n.)

[1980s+] a search.

nose burner (n.)

[1960s+] (drugs) the butt of a marijuana cigarette.

nose candy (n.) [candy/candy n. (5b)] [1920s+] (orig. US drugs)

1. cocaine.

2. heroin.

nose habit (n.) [habit n. (1)]

[1960s+] (drugs) taking narcotic drugs by sniffing them through the nose rather than by injection.

nose hit (n.) [hit n. (3e)]

[1970s] (drugs) a puff of a marijuana cigarette taken through the nose rather than the lips.

nose powder (n.) (also nose stuff) [powder n.1 (2)]

[1930s+] (drugs) cocaine; occas. heroin, morphine.

nose-up (n.)

[2000s+] the inhalation of cocaine.

SE in slang uses

In compounds


see separate entries.


see separate entries.

nosecone (n.) [the shape]

[1980s+] (drugs) a large cannabis cigarette rolled with a rosebud-shaped twist of paper on the end.


see separate entries.

nosegay (n.)

1. [early 19C] a blow on the nose.

2. [1980s] (UK prison) tobacco.

nose job (n.) [job n.2 (2)]

1. [1960s–70s] (US black) a sexual obsession with some object of desire.

2. [1960s+] a rhinoplasty, cosmetic plastic surgery on one’s nose.

nose music (n.)

[1910s] (US) snoring.

nose paint (n.) (also nose rouge, nose varnish) [it turns the nose red; note Shakespearian use of nose-painting (e.g. Macbeth III iii) refers to sexual rather than alcoholic excess]

[mid-19C–1970s] (US) alcohol; thus paint one’s nose, to (take a) drink.

nose picker (n.) (US)

1. [1940s] a child or person with offensive habits.

2. [1970s] a rustic, a peasant.

nose-pinchers (n.) [literal translation]

[late 19C] pince-nez.

nose rag (n.)

1. [mid-19C–1950s] a handkerchief.

2. (US, also nigger nose-rag) a newspaper.

3. [late 19C] an unpopular person.

nose trouble (n.)

[1930s–80s] (Aus./US) a propensity for interfering.

nose warmer (n.)

1. [late 19C] a short pipe.

2. [1930s] (US) consommé in a cup.

nose wipe (n.)

[early 19C+] a handkerchief.

nose wiper (n.)

1. [mid-19C+] a handkerchief.

2. [1920s] a toady [lit. image, but note ass-wiper n.].

In phrases

give someone the blunt nose (v.)

to deny or reject a statement.

get it in the nose (v.)

[1910s] to be punished, lit. and fig.

get it up one’s nose (v.)

1. (US) to get drunk.

2. to lose one’s temper.

get one’s nose cold (v.) [the drug has a numbing quality, esp. if, as more than likely, it has been adulterated with procaine or Novocaine]

[1970s+] (drugs) to sniff cocaine.

get one’s nose wet (v.)

[1910s] (US) to get drunk.

get someone’s nose (v.) [var. get someone’s nose open ]

[1990s+] (US black) to have another person utterly dependent on oneself, typically in a one-sided love relationship.

get someone’s nose open (v.) [all uses imply heavy breathing; cf. have one’s nose open ] [1950s+] (US black)

1. to produce sexual excitement in someone.

2. to be under someone’s control (other than sexually).

3. to anger someone.

get up someone’s nose (v.)

[1910s+] (orig. US) to annoy, to irritate.

give someone one on the nose (v.)

[late 19C+] to hit, to reprimand; also in fig. use.

have a dirty nose (v.)

[late 16C–mid-17C] to be drunk.

have a good nose (v.)

[late 17C–early 18C] to arrive at a house in time for a meal.

have a nose on (v.)

[1900s–70s] (Aus./N.Z.) to bear a grudge against someone, to take offence.

have one’s nose in parenthesis (v.) [SE parenthesis, an interlude, a hiatus]

[late 18C–early 19C] to have one’s nose pulled.

have one’s nose open (v.) (also get one’s nose open) [all uses imply heavy breathing; cf. get someone’s nose open ] [1950s+] (US black)

1. to be infatuated with another person.

2. [1970s] (US black / drugs) to be using cocaine.

3. to be excited – in a non-sexual context.

4. to be angry.

have one’s nose up someone’s ass/arse (v.)

[1970s+] to act sycophantically, to toady

In phrases

keep one’s nose clean (v.)

1. [mid-19C–1940s] (orig. milit.) to avoid alcohol.

2. [late 19C+] (also keep one’s snout clean) to lead a law-abiding, upright life.

3. [1920s+] to resist interfering in things that are not one’s business.

4. [1930s+] of a criminal, to avoid being implicated in something illegal.

keep one’s nose in someone’s ass (v.)

[1960s+] (US) to toady to.

make a bridge of someone’s nose (v.)

[late 17C–early 19C] to miss out a person during the passing of a bottle around the table.

nose wipe (v.)

[early 17C–mid-18C] to cheat, to deceive.

on one's nose (adj.)

[1920s] (US) drunk.

on the nose

1. [19C] (UK Und.) on the watch, on the lookout; thus phr. beaks (out) on the nose, magistrates peforming their evening rounds.

2. [1920s+] (gambling) describing a wager placed on a horse to win, e.g. £5 on the nose.

3. [1940s] describing a reward offered for information leading to the capture of a criminal.

4. [1940s+] (Aus./N.Z.) foul-smelling.

5. [1940s+] in fig. use of sense 4, unpleasant, and thus offensive morally or aesthetically as well as to the nostrils.

wipe someone’s nose (v.)

[mid-19C] to surpass, to outdo.