give the nod to, Informal. to express approval of; agree to: The board gave the nod to the new proposal.
    on the nod,
    1. British Slang.on credit.
    2. Slang.drowsy following a dose of a narcotic drug.

Origin of nod

1350–1400; Middle English nodde, of uncertain origin
Related formsnod·der, nounnod·ding·ly, adverbun·nod·ding, adjective

Synonyms for nod

3. drowse.




the land east of Eden where Cain went to dwell. Gen. 4:16. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nod

Contemporary Examples of nod

Historical Examples of nod

  • With a nod and a smile, Aspasia said, "Continue the music, I pray you."


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Wanhope assented to the question referred to him with a nod.

  • All that saved her now was the nod of the Judge's head—both had the giving of life and death.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • A nod from the water seller told that I had reached the end of the journey.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • The man by his nod seemed to show he understood what was afoot.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

British Dictionary definitions for nod


verb nods, nodding or nodded

to lower and raise (the head) briefly, as to indicate agreement, invitation, etc
(tr) to express or indicate by noddingshe nodded approval
(tr) to bring or direct by noddingshe nodded me towards the manager's office
(intr) (of flowers, trees, etc) to sway or bend forwards and back
(intr) to let the head fall forward through drowsiness; be almost asleepthe old lady sat nodding by the fire
(intr) to be momentarily inattentive or carelesseven Homer sometimes nods
nodding acquaintance a slight, casual, or superficial knowledge (of a subject or a person)


a quick down-and-up movement of the head, as in assent, command, etcshe greeted him with a nod
a short sleep; napSee also land of Nod
a swaying motion, as of flowers, etc, in the wind
on the nod informal
  1. agreed, as in a committee meeting, without any formal procedure
  2. (formerly) on credit
the nod boxing informal the award of a contest to a competitor on the basis of points scored
See also nod off, nod out
Derived Formsnodding, adjective, noun

Word Origin for nod

C14 nodde, of obscure origin
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 nod

"to quickly bow the head," late 14c., of unknown origin, probably an Old English word, but not recorded; perhaps related to Old High German hnoton "to shake," from Proto-Germanic *khnudojanan. Meaning "to drift in and out of consciousness while on drugs" is attested from 1968. Related: Nodded; nodding. A nodding acquaintance (1711) is one you know just well enough to greet with a nod.


mid-15c., from nod (v.). Land of Nod "sleep" is a pun on the biblical place name (Gen. iv:16).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with nod


In addition to the idiom beginning with nod

  • nodding acquaintance
  • nod off

also see:

  • get the nod
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.