Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

brown-nose

[broun-nohz]Slang.
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), brown-nosed, brown-nos·ing.
  1. to curry favor; behave obsequiously.
Show More
verb (used with object), brown-nosed, brown-nos·ing.
  1. to seek favors from (a person) in an obsequious manner; fawn over.
Show More
noun
  1. Also brown-nos·er. a toady; sycophant.
Show More
Compare ass-kissing.

Origin of brown-nose

First recorded in 1935–40; brown + nose
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for brownnosing

brown-nose

verb
  1. to be abjectly subservient (to); curry favour (with)
Show More
noun
  1. an abjectly subservient person; sycophant
Show More

Word Origin

C20: from the notion that a subservient person kisses the backside of the person with whom he or she is currying favour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for brownnosing

brown-nose

v.

also brownnose, 1939, American English colloquial, said to be military slang originally, from brown (adj.) + nose (n.), "from the implication that servility is tantamount to having one's nose in the anus of the person from whom advancement is sought" [Webster, 1961]. Related: Brown-noser, brown-nosing (both 1950).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper