see past the end of one's nose

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Alternative forms[edit]


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see past the end of one's nose (third-person singular simple present sees past the end of one's nose, present participle seeing past the end of one's nose, simple past saw past the end of one's nose, past participle seen past the end of one's nose)

  1. (idiomatic, chiefly in the negative) To have insight into underlying facts or consequences; to possess common sense or a vision for the future.
    • 1964 Sept. 13, John Canaday, "Hello Sr. Brest," New York Times (retrieved 15 Dec 2015)
      “If you could find a curator somewhere—I admit this is difficult—who can see beyond the end of his nose, he would be glad to be a true innovator and get out of the international rut.”
    • 1988 Dec. 7, Robert Maynard, "Bush better not ignore Mexico," Spartanburg Herald-Journal (US), p. A10 (retrieved 15 Dec 2015)
      If my mother got on your case for being thoughtless or lacking in prudence or foresight, she likely would declare that you could not "see past the end of your nose".
    • 2007, Sharan Newman, Heresy: A Catherine LeVendeur Mystery, →ISBN, (Google preview):
      “Why didn't you tell me that you couldn't see past the end of your nose?” she demanded. “Do you realize the trouble you've caused?”
    • 2009 Dec. 26, Mark Reason, "Huge shadow of Tiger Woods dominates the decade of sport ," Telegraph (UK) (retrieved 15 Dec 2015)
      It turned out that the BBC and its panel of newspaper experts couldn't see past the end of their own noses, let alone get a glimpse of the stars. The shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year was an absolute scandal of omission.
    • 2011, Carrie Turansky, Along Came Love, →ISBN, ch. 14 (Google preview):
      He probably thought she was an overprotective, neurotic mother who couldn't see past the end of her nose where her son was concerned.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Usually used in negative constructions, to indicate that someone lacks insight or common sense.
  • In all forms of this expression, sometimes own is placed before nose.