verb (used without object), brown-nosed, brown-nos·ing.
to curry favor; behave obsequiously.
verb (used with object), brown-nosed, brown-nos·ing.
to seek favors from (a person) in an obsequious manner; fawn over.
Also brown-nos·er. a toady; sycophant.
Origin of brown-nose
First recorded in 1935–40; brown
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for brown-nosefawn
British Dictionary definitions for brown-nose
to be abjectly subservient (to); curry favour (with)
an abjectly subservient person; sycophant
Word Origin for brown-nose
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 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).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper