[nos-truh l]


either of the two external openings of the nose.

Origin of nostril

before 1000; Middle English nostrill, Old English nosterl, variant of nosthyrl, equivalent to nos(u) nose + thyrel hole; see thirl Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nostrils

Contemporary Examples of nostrils

Historical Examples of nostrils

  • That and a slight paleness of the nostrils were the only evidences of his condition.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The scent of a big item was in his nostrils, and it stimulated him like champagne.

  • The dripping of water reached the ear; the smell of dampness the nostrils.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • The stinging air bit my nostrils and drove my hands into my pockets.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • How would they ever get the smell of the smoke of that sacrifice out of their nostrils?

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for nostrils



either of the two external openings of the noseRelated adjectives: narial, narine

Word Origin for nostril

Old English nosthyrl, from nosu nose + thyrel hole
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 nostrils



Old English nosþyrl, nosðirl, literally "the hole of the nose," from nosu "nose" (see nose (n.)) + þyrel "hole" (see thrill (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nostrils in Medicine




A naris.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.