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Pay thru the nose

Posted by ESC on June 27, 2003

In Reply to: Saying - pay thru the nose posted by Bob Dupuis on June 27, 2003

: What is the meaning and origin of the saying - pay thru the nose?

I always think of Jack Nicholson getting his nose cut in "Chinatown" when I hear this expression. To access previous discussion, search "nose pay" in the archives. A couple of theories:

Pay Through the Nose. Be charged an exorbitant price. Why nose? One superstition is that this kind of paying is as irksome as a nosebleed. Another tale has it that the Danes levied a tax on the Irish in the 9th century, and that anyone who failed to pay it was punished by having his nose slit. In any event, we find Andrew Marvell wrting in 1672 (in 'The Rehearsal Tranposed'(: "Made them pay it most unconsciously and through the Nose."
From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers.