brown-nose

[broun-nohz]Slang.

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.

noun

Also brown-nos·er. a toady; sycophant.

Nearby words

  1. brown, olympia,
  2. brown, robert,
  3. brown-and-serve,
  4. brown-bag,
  5. brown-eyed susan,
  6. brown-state,
  7. brown-séquard's syndrome,
  8. brown-tail moth,
  9. browne,
  10. browne, charles farrar

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. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for brown-nose

brown-nose

verb

to be abjectly subservient (to); curry favour (with)

noun

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

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper