[pans-ney, pins-; French pans-ney]

noun, plural pince-nez [pans-neyz, pins-; French pans-ney] /ˈpænsˌneɪz, ˈpɪns-; French pɛ̃sˈneɪ/.

a pair of glasses held on the face by a spring that grips the nose.

Origin of pince-nez

1875–80; < French: literally, (it) pinches (the) nose Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pince-nez

Contemporary Examples of pince-nez

  • The bushy-haired Russian Jew in the pince-nez was an ardent revolutionary but also a genuine democrat, or so the legend goes.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Trotsky Legend Debunked

    Michael Kazin

    December 8, 2009

Historical Examples of pince-nez

  • His dark eyes sparkle with inquisitiveness behind the pince-nez.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • The scything had begun, and she took off her pince-nez to watch it.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • The little lady tapped Roma's arm with her pince-nez and laughed.

  • The secretary, who had once been a governess, adjusted her pince-nez and took a note.

    The Red Hand of Ulster

    George A. Birmingham

  • Presently he took off his pince-nez and put them into his pocket.

    Jack O' Judgment

    Edgar Wallace

British Dictionary definitions for pince-nez


noun plural pince-nez

eyeglasses that are held in place only by means of a clip over the bridge of the nose

Word Origin for pince-nez

C19: French, literally: pinch-nose
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 pince-nez

folding eyeglasses, 1876, French, literally "pinch-nose," from pincer "to pinch" (see pinch (v.)) + nez "nose" (see nose (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper