verb (used with object), nudged, nudg·ing.

to push slightly or gently, especially with the elbow, to get someone's attention, prod someone into action, etc.

verb (used without object), nudged, nudg·ing.

to give a nudge.


a slight or gentle push or jog, especially with the elbow.

Origin of nudge

1665–75; variant of dial. (k)nidge, akin to Old English cnucian, cnocian to knock
Related formsnudg·er, noun

Synonyms for nudge

1. elbow, poke, jog.



or noodge, nudzh

[noo j]

verb (used with object), nudged, nudg·ing.

to annoy with persistent complaints, criticisms, or pleas; nag: He was always nudging his son to move to a better neighborhood.

verb (used without object), nudged, nudg·ing.

to nag, whine, or carp.


a person who nudges; pest.

Origin of nudge

1875–80; < Yiddish, stem of nudyen to bore < Polish nudzić; cf. nudnik Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nudge

Contemporary Examples of nudge

Historical Examples of nudge

  • Giving Jean, who was beside him, a nudge with his elbow, he asked what they were to do there.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • At a nudge from his captors, Dr. Bird took his place in the craft.

    The Great Drought

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • I nudge Wurpz and Zahooli as the Neofeuhrer goes over to converse with his crew.

    Operation Earthworm

    Joe Archibald

  • John Splendid, at my side, gave me with his knee the least nudge on the leg next him.

    John Splendid

    Neil Munro

  • Olimpia needed no nudge from the Captain to tell her who this noble rider might be.

    Little Novels of Italy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

British Dictionary definitions for nudge


verb (tr)

to push or poke (someone) gently, esp with the elbow, to get attention; jog
to push slowly or lightlyas I drove out, I just nudged the gatepost
to give (someone) a gentle reminder or encouragement


a gentle poke or push
a gentle reminder
Derived Formsnudger, noun

Word Origin for nudge

C17: perhaps from Scandinavian; compare Icelandic nugga to push
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 nudge

"to push slightly with the elbow," 1670s, perhaps from Scandinavian (cf. Norwegian nugge, nyggje "to jostle, rub;" Icelandic nugga "to rub, massage"). Related: Nudged; nudging.


"complainer, nagger," 1960s, from Yiddish, from Slavic words meaning "fret, ache," realted to the root of nudnik (q.v.).


"a slight push," 1836, from nudge (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper