Where did the phrase "open nosed" come from?
December 16, 2008 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Where does the phrase "open nosed" come from, and what exactly does it mean?

After re-watching Deadwood and hearing the phrase "open nosed" (as in coming up on someone open nosed), I'm curious as to where this phrase comes from. From the context, I assume it means finding someone with their guard down, but I'm not sure.
posted by skechada to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The only time I've heard something similar it referred to a male that had his nose open to a woman--I assume that it meant that the guy was "sniffing around" the lady. FWIW, I came across the term on a dubious "test" of knowing African American slang, so who knows if this is accurate in the least.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:30 AM on December 16, 2008

urban dictionary has something similar
posted by nomad at 9:45 AM on December 16, 2008

Does it have to do with having one's nostril's flared, as often happens in anger? I'm just picturing Seth Bollock now, in one of his many angry moments.
posted by explosion at 10:00 AM on December 16, 2008

Well baby used to stay out all night long
She made me cry and she did me wrong
She had my nose open, that's no lie
The tables have turned, now it's her turn to cry

Because I used to love her, but It's All Over Now

Bobby Womack. This is the only context in which I've heard it used, which supports thebrokedown's african-american usage, but the lyrics above aren't terribly helpful as to what it means exactly.
posted by Restless Day at 1:13 PM on December 16, 2008

Yeah the particular context was used when Al Swearengen went over to Cy Tolliver's place after it opened, making a sarcastic remark about not being informed of their impending arrival, saying Tolliver came upon him "open nosed". I guess that's consistent with the urban dictionary interpretation.
posted by skechada at 7:09 AM on December 17, 2008

skechada I think you were on the right track before, I don't think there's a sexual connotation so much as there's the notion of being caught unawares, or caught off-balance . . .

Got his nose open. Losing money, as in "He's got his nose open."

posted by Restless Day at 7:46 AM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

--at a disadvantage, perhaps
posted by Restless Day at 7:54 AM on December 17, 2008

That scoundrel's glossary is awesome. That's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
posted by skechada at 10:55 AM on December 18, 2008

« Older Help me find a good travel agency in Austin, TX...   |   More men are being laid off than women. Why? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.