[ nod ]
See synonyms for nod on
verb (used without object),nod·ded, nod·ding.
  1. to make a slight, quick downward bending forward of the head, as in assent, greeting, or command.

  2. to let the head fall slightly forward with a sudden, involuntary movement when sleepy.

  1. to doze, especially in a sitting position: The speaker was so boring that half the audience was nodding.

  2. to become careless, inattentive, or listless; make an error or mistake through lack of attention.

  3. (of trees, flowers, plumes, etc.) to droop, bend, or incline with a swaying motion.

verb (used with object),nod·ded, nod·ding.
  1. to bend (the head) in a short, quick downward movement, as of assent or greeting.

  2. to express or signify by such a movement of the head: to nod approval; to nod agreement.

  1. to summon, bring, or send by a nod of the head.

  2. to cause (something) to lean or sway; incline.

  1. a short, quick downward bending forward of the head, as in assent, greeting, or command, or because of drowsiness.

  2. a brief period of sleep; nap.

  1. a bending or swaying movement.

  2. a gesture or action indicating that someone or something has been approved, selected, recognized, etc.: The domed ceiling is a nod to traditional library reading rooms.

  3. a nomination, as for an office or award: It looks like he’s locked up the party’s nod for governor. The film has received critical praise and two Oscar nods.

Verb Phrases
  1. nod off, to fall asleep or doze, especially in a sitting position: He was reprimanded for nodding off in class.

  2. nod out, Slang. to fall asleep, especially owing to the effects of a drug.

Idioms about nod

  1. get the nod, to get approval; be selected, recognized, etc.: We’ve gotten the nod from the administration to hire two assistant professors.He got the nod as starting pitcher for the Phillies.

  2. give the nod, to give an indication of approval, recognition, etc.: The board gave the nod to the new proposal.It wasn’t till May that the company was given the nod to schedule the event.

  1. on the nod,

    • British Slang. on credit.

    • Slang. drowsy following a dose of a narcotic drug.

Origin of nod

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English nodde, of uncertain origin

Other words for nod

Other words from nod

  • nod·der, noun
  • nod·ding·ly, adverb
  • un·nod·ding, adjective

Other definitions for Nod (2 of 2)

[ nod ]

  1. the land east of Eden where Cain went to dwell. Genesis 4:16.

Origin of Nod

Ultimately from Hebrew Nōdh “wandering” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for nod


/ (nɒd) /

verbnods, nodding or nodded
  1. to lower and raise (the head) briefly, as to indicate agreement, invitation, etc

  2. (tr) to express or indicate by nodding: she nodded approval

  1. (tr) to bring or direct by nodding: she nodded me towards the manager's office

  2. (intr) (of flowers, trees, etc) to sway or bend forwards and back

  3. (intr) to let the head fall forward through drowsiness; be almost asleep: the old lady sat nodding by the fire

  4. (intr) to be momentarily inattentive or careless: even Homer sometimes nods

  5. nodding acquaintance a slight, casual, or superficial knowledge (of a subject or a person)

  1. a quick down-and-up movement of the head, as in assent, command, etc: she greeted him with a nod

  2. a short sleep; nap: See also land of Nod

  1. a swaying motion, as of flowers, etc, in the wind

  2. on the nod informal

    • agreed, as in a committee meeting, without any formal procedure

    • (formerly) on credit

  3. the nod boxing informal the award of a contest to a competitor on the basis of points scored

Origin of nod

C14 nodde, of obscure origin

Derived forms of nod

  • nodding, adjective, noun

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

Other 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.