count noses

Idioms & Phrases

count noses

Also, count heads. Reckon up the number of those present. For example, The theater seemed only half-full, so the producer decided to count noses, or Our tour leader was always careful to count heads before the bus started off. This idiom was originally put as tell noses. [Mid-1600s]

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