WORD ORIGIN 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. Origin of brown-nose
First recorded in
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for brownnosing 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
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Word Origin and History for brownnosing v.
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