To "black one's nose"

Posted by Brian Andrews on May 21, 2000

In Reply to: To "black one's nose" posted by I. Thomas on May 19, 2000

: Does anyone know the origin/meaning of the above phrase. With many thanks.

I believe it means to engage in secret dubious activities and to have those activities become common knowledge such that everyone knows your dirty little secret. An example might be a judge who, having been followed one evening by the local investigative journalist, found, in the next days newspaper, a picture of himself in the arms of a well know local prostitute plastered all over the front page. His secret would be a secret no more, it would be as obvious as a black nose on a white face or vice versa.