or nos路ey

[ noh-zee ]
/ 藞no蕣 zi /
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See synonyms for: nosy / nosiness on Thesaurus.com

adjective, nos路i路er, nos路i路est.
unduly curious about the affairs of others; prying; meddlesome.
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Origin of nosy

First recorded in 1880鈥85; nose + -y1


nos路i路ly, adverbnos路i路ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


What does聽nosy mean?

Nosy is used to describe someone who asks too many questions about or otherwise pries into other people鈥檚 business because they are overly curious about it. It鈥檚 especially used to describe someone who does this all the time.

A much less common spelling of nosy is nosey.

The related phrasal verbs nose in and stick one鈥檚 nose in mean to get into other people鈥檚 business鈥攖o pry or snoop.

People who are considered nosy are known for prying, snooping, asking overly personal questions, eavesdropping (listening to other people鈥檚 conversations), and generally nosing into other people鈥檚 business.

Nosy can also be used to describe such a person鈥檚 behavior and the kinds of questions they ask, as in I ignored all of his nosy questions about my medical history.聽

Although the term implies a lack of respect for other people鈥檚 privacy, calling someone nosy is usually only mildly negative and is often somewhat playful. It鈥檚 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.聽

Example: My neighbor is as nosy as they get鈥攕he always asks where I鈥檓 going when I leave and where I鈥檝e been when I get back!

Where does聽nosy come from?

The first records of nosy come from the 1800s. The word nose has been used as a verb meaning 鈥渢o pry鈥 since at least the 1600s.

This figurative sense of nose is based on the idea of searching for something by using one鈥檚 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鈥攖hey鈥檙e just snooping around to see what they can find. This is exactly what a nosy person does.

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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?聽


What are some words that often get used in discussing nosy?


How is聽nosy used in real life?

Nosy is typically used in a mildly negative way. People sometimes even call themselves nosy to acknowledge that they鈥檙e overly curious about other people鈥檚 business.


Try using聽nosy!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to describe someone who鈥檚 considered nosy?

A. prying
B. meddlesome
C. indifferent
D. curious

How to use nosy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nosy



/ (藞n蓹蕣z瑟) /

adjective nosier or nosiest
informal prying or inquisitive

Derived forms of nosy

nosily, adverbnosiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012