Thumbing your nose

Posted by James Briggs on May 08, 2002

In Reply to: Thumbing your nose posted by Roseann on May 08, 2002

: I've used the expression "thumbing your nose at someone" to mean a kind of contempt. When I looked in Phrase Finder for confirmation it didn't seem to be included.
: Any info anyone?
: Thanks, Rosieann

Certainly in the part of London I grew up in in the 1930s and 40s, 'thumbing your nose' was very popular with kids as a form of defiance against almost anyone else - other kids, grown ups (you hoped you weren't indentified while you were running away, which is what you always did if adults were involved!). I don't know its origin but I guess pretty old, possibly centuries. It was almost never used by adults and was regarded as childlike.