- 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
- to be abjectly subservient (to); curry favour (with)
- an abjectly subservient person; sycophant
Word Origin and History for brownnosing
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).