OTHER WORDS FROM nosynos·i·ly, adverbnos·i·ness, noun
Words nearby nosy
What does nosy mean?
Nosy is used to describe someone who asks too many questions about or otherwise pries into other people’s business because they are overly curious about it. It’s especially used to describe someone who does this all the time.
A much less common spelling of nosy is nosey.
People who are considered nosy are known for prying, snooping, asking overly personal questions, eavesdropping (listening to other people’s conversations), and generally nosing into other people’s business.
Nosy can also be used to describe such a person’s behavior and the kinds of questions they ask, as in I ignored all of his nosy questions about my medical history.
Although the term implies a lack of respect for other people’s privacy, calling someone nosy is usually only mildly negative and is often somewhat playful. It’s not usually used in situations that involve serious or harmful violations of privacy.
The word is sometimes used to address or refer to someone as a way of saying that they are nosy, as in Hey, nosy, quit looking in my notebook.
Example: My neighbor is as nosy as they get—she always asks where I’m going when I leave and where I’ve been when I get back!
Where does nosy come from?
The first records of nosy come from the 1800s. The word nose has been used as a verb meaning “to pry” since at least the 1600s.
This figurative sense of nose is based on the idea of searching for something by using one’s sense of smell. The phrases nose about, nose around, and sniff around mean to look around for something, especially something private or hidden. In many cases, they imply that someone is not looking for something specific—they’re just snooping around to see what they can find. This is exactly what a nosy person does.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to nosy?
- nosey (less common spelling)
- nosier (comparative adjective)
- nosiest (superlative adjective)
- nosily (adverb)
- nosiness (noun)
What are some synonyms for nosy?
What are some words that share a root or word element with nosy?
What are some words that often get used in discussing nosy?
How is nosy used in real life?
Nosy is typically used in a mildly negative way. People sometimes even call themselves nosy to acknowledge that they’re overly curious about other people’s business.
My mom is so nosy that I will have the smallest smile on my face and she asks EVERY time “what are you smiling about over there” 😂😂😂
— Taylor Madison ♓️🌙 (@Taymadison1997) November 16, 2020
I’m so nosy. And it’s purely for entertainment purposes.
— Jasmine (@jazzandd) November 15, 2020
i’m so nosy that today i put in headphones and didn’t play any music just so i could listen to a couple fight at a table across from me
— zoë surprise (@zoesurprise12) November 8, 2017
Try using nosy!
Which of the following words is LEAST likely to describe someone who’s considered nosy?
How to use nosy in a sentence
I really don't think I have to explain this or be embarrassed by nosy questions.Miss Manners: How to be a good Samaritan at the grocery store|Judith Martin, Nicholas Martin, Jacobina Martin|March 5, 2021|Washington Post
Kathryn Hahn is an utter delight as the nosy next-door neighbor who seems to be hiding a secret.Wandavision Offers Hope That Originality Can Survive the Era of the Ever-Expanding Franchise|Eliana Dockterman|January 16, 2021|Time
I have been called "nosy" and been accused of giving someone "the third degree."Carolyn Hax: Don’t expect a recycling miracle on 34th Street|Carolyn Hax|December 2, 2020|Washington Post
He asked to talk on the phone, but I declined because my kids were home and they're very nosy.Carolyn Hax: She swiped right, and now it feels so, so wrong|Carolyn Hax|November 23, 2020|Washington Post
The nosiest, noisiest, and most persistent shareholders are usually those looking for a quick gain, and the market famously rewards businesses that discount the future and externalize costs onto communities and the environment.The ghost of Milton Friedman will haunt the markets until companies fix CEO pay|Judith Samuelson|September 16, 2020|Quartz
Edmund is now 4, and is a giggly, sociable, nosy, occasionally impertinent boy.
But often they simply conceal their activities from friends and family, rather than put up with a lot of nosy questions.Louie’s Elevator Romance: Can Love Exist Without Sex?|Amanda Marcotte|May 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Sounds to me like Pew conducted its survey by flagging down cars full of stoned teenagers and asking nosy questions.P.J. on the Owl-Monkey Project and the Science of Chick Flicks|P. J. O’Rourke|April 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Unfortunately, the mission soon goes haywire when a group of menacing Miami mobsters—and the nosy Rosalyn—get involved.‘American Hustle’: A Sexy, Gleefully Chaotic Caper Starring Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence|Marlow Stern|December 10, 2013|DAILY BEAST
As annoying as he is--and he is very annoying, we continue to need the extremely nosy presence of dear old Uncle Sam.Why Regulation Matters: Investigating the Meningitis Outbreak|Kent Sepkowitz|October 18, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Being the nosy child I was, every once in a while I would look him up in the phone book so I knew he existed.Warren Commission (11 of 26): Hearings Vol. XI (of 15)|The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
I didn't like to ask too many questions for I might have got fired for being too nosy.An American Hobo in Europe|Ben Goodkind
Belts raced and flapped from nosy shafts along the ceiling—a steady, uninterrupted din.I Walked in Arden|Jack Crawford
Not until he swings around and I gets a view of that nosy profile do I gasp any gasps.Torchy, Private Sec.|Sewell Ford
But he's not so new that he hasn't had time to study the area or to make plans to lead nosy people to the quarry.The Blue Ghost Mystery|Harold Leland Goodwin