turn up one's nose
A description of a gesture possibly universally understood as indicating scorn, contempt or disgust.
Literal translation of Ancient Greek εξεμυκτήριζον from εξ (intensifier with additional senses of out from or of the nature of) and μυκτηρίζω (to mock by turning up one's nose, from the base μυκτήρ (snout, nose)).
This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.
- To make the gesture of raising one's nose, as a sign of scorn, contempt or disgust.
1855, Richard Francis Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Madinah and Meccah:
- When your turn came, you were carefully collared, and led up to the presence, as if even at that awful moment you were mutinously and murderously disposed. The Pasha, looking at you with a vicious sneer, turned up his nose, ejaculated "'Ajami," and prescribed the bastinado.
1875, Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now:
- Sir Felix, when he read this letter at his club in the afternoon of the Monday, turned up his nose and shook his head. He thought if there were much of that kind of thing to be done, he could not go on with it, even though the marriage was certain, and the money secure. "What an infernal little ass!" he said to himself as he crumpled the letter up.
- 1972, Émile Zola, George Holden (translator), Nana, Penguin Books,
- The actors paused, their arms hanging limply by their sides, while Fontan turned up his nose and asked with a sneer :
- 'What do you mean? What's not like that?'
- (idiomatic, with "at") To regard with contempt or scorn, especially in conjunction with the gesture of raising one's nose; to treat with contempt or scorn; to ignore or disregard in a contemptuous or scornful way.
1848, James Russell Lowell (initially published anonymously), A Fable for Critics:
- But he turned up his nose at their murmuring and stammering,
- And cared (shall I say?) not a d—— for their damming;
- So they first read him out of their church, and next minute
- Turned round and declared he had never been in it.
1853, Charles Dickens, The Schoolboy's Story:
- So Old Cheeseman went on, and didn’t he lead a miserable life! Of course the Reverend turned up his nose at him, and of course she did—because both of them always do that at all the masters—but he suffered from the fellows most, and he suffered from them constantly.
- 1958: annotated translation based on documents deriving from postulated c.85 Greek text attrib to Luke (εξεμυκτήριζον δε και οι άρχοντες συν αυτοίς λέγοντες' άλλους έσωσε, σωσάτω εαυτόν, ει ούτος εστιν ο Χριστός ο του Θεού εκλεκτός): Lockman Foundation, The Amplified New Testament used in 1965 Zondervan Corporation, The Amplified Bible, Luke 23:35 - but the rulers scoffed and sneered (literal translation: turned up their noses) at Him, saying, He rescued others; let Him now rescue Himself, if He is the Christ (the Messiah) of God, His Chosen One!
- (idiomatic, with "at") To refuse, especially with disgust, contempt or scorn, and especially in conjunction with the gesture of raising one's nose; to refuse with apparent disregard about offending the offerer.
- I tried to help, but they turned up their noses at my advice.
1838, Edgar Allen Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym:
- We listened in profound silence until the conclusion of this harangue, when Captain Guy replied by assuring the chief of his eternal friendship and goodwill, concluding what he had to say be a present of several strings of blue beads and a knife. At the former the monarch, much to our surprise, turned up his nose with some expression of contempt, but the knife gave him the most unlimited satisfaction, and he immediately ordered dinner.
1881, James Greenwood, Low-Life Deeps:
- Why I recollect, a bit ago, having a tarrier dog what got old and disagreeable, and was turned out on that account from a swell house in Belgravy. Well, he come into my hands, and nat'rally I put him on paunch, like the rest. Would he eat it? Not he. He had been used to his chicken, and his mutton chops, and his 'ashes: and he turned up his nose at anything commoner.
- The Amplified Bible (Lockman Foundation, 1958) available at 
- Wigram's Englishman's Greek Concordance (George C. Wigram, ed Jay P. Green, Sr. 1839/1903) using numbering from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (James Strong 1890) and Greek Lexicon (Joseph Thayer, 1889) all consulted at Blue Letter Bible "Lexicon and Strong's Concordance Search for 1592" (Blue Letter Bible, 1996-2002)  on 14 April 2006
- Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (W E Vine, 1940) consulted at  on 14 April 2006