General Question

kelly's avatar

What is the meaning and origin of "thumbing your nose"?

Asked by kelly (1908points) February 23rd, 2007
does it mean that you disrespect someone and what is the origin of this jester
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2 Answers

occ's avatar
In Shakespearean times they used to bite their thumb at people (the whole first scene of Romeo and Juliet involves a fight over this obscene gesture). I'm not sure if thumbing your nose at someone evolved from that same gesture, but it's a possibility. At the very least, biting your thumb at someone is a disrespectful gesture that is at least 500 years old.
hossman's avatar
Yup. Also known as "the fig." Variants of biting the thumb include thumbing the nose, brushing the hand outward at the bottom of the chin, etc. Scalia used that one recently.

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