- to curry favor; behave obsequiously.
- to seek favors from (a person) in an obsequious manner; fawn over.
- Also brown-nos·er. a toady; sycophant.
Origin of brown-nose
- vet science a form of light sensitization in cattle
- to be abjectly subservient (to); curry favour (with)
- an abjectly subservient person; sycophant
Word Origin and History for brown nose
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).
Idioms and Phrases with brown nose
Solicit favor obsequiously, toady. For example, Harry was always brown nosing, but it didn't help his grades. This term originated in the military in the late 1930s, where it meant “to curry favor”; it alludes to ass-kissing when the backside being kissed is less than clean. Despite its scatological origin, today this slangy term is not considered particularly vulgar.