brown nose

brown-nose

[broun-nohz] Slang.
verb (used without object), brown-nosed, brown-nosing.
1.
to curry favor; behave obsequiously.
verb (used with object), brown-nosed, brown-nosing.
2.
to seek favors from (a person) in an obsequious manner; fawn over.
noun
3.
Also, brown-noser. a toady; sycophant.
Compare ass-kissing.


Origin:
1935–40; brown + nose

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
brown nose
 
n
vet science a form of light sensitization in cattle

brown-nose
 
vb
1.  to be abjectly subservient (to); curry favour (with)
 
n
2.  an abjectly subservient person; sycophant
 
[C20: from the notion that a subservient person kisses the backside of the person with whom he or she is currying favour]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

brown-nose
also brownnose, 1939, Amer.Eng. colloquial, said to be military slang originally, from brown + nose, "from the implication that servility is tantamount to having one's nose in the anus of the person from whom advancement is sought" [Webster, 1961]. Related: Brown-noser, brown-nosing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

brown nose

Solicit favor obsequiously, toady. For example, Harry was always brown nosing, but it didn't help his grades. This term originated in the military in the late 1930s, where it meant "to curry favor"; it alludes to ass-kissing when the backside being kissed is less than clean. Despite its scatological origin, today this slangy term is not considered particularly vulgar.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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