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

Related Words for nudging

poke, tap, shove, dig, punch, touch, jog, push, prod, jab

Examples from the Web for nudging

Contemporary Examples of nudging

Historical Examples of nudging

  • You, I mean,' he added, nudging Barnaby roughly with his elbow.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • At this there was some pushing and nudging and indulgent whispering.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • "Morrisson, your honour," said a ragged ruffian, nudging me by the elbow.

    Jack Hinton

    Charles James Lever

  • Some in the group espied my approach, and there was a nudging of elbows.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane

  • "You don't believe me," said the old man, nudging him again.

    The Mermaid

    Lily Dougall

British Dictionary definitions for nudging


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 nudging



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



"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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper