Brown Nose, to

Also:

Brown Noser (brown-noser)
Brownnosing (brown nosing, brown-nosing)

Meaning of Idiom ‘Brown Nose’

To brown nose is to obsequiously and shamelessly try to gain someone’s favor by being sycophantic and affecting a subservient attitude, being overly agreeable, flattering, etc. 1Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

One who engages in brownnosing is called a brown-noser.

Synonyms or related words for brownnosing are obsequious, ingratiating, sycophantic, and unctuous.


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Related Idioms

Curry Favor, to
Suck Up (to someone)
Kiss Ass or Kiss Butt, to

Examples Of Use

“Franklin is such a brown-noser! He follows the boss around like a puppy.”

“I knew a lot of brown-nosers in the military. They didn’t get far.”

“If you think you can brown nose your way to the top in this company, you are going to be disappointed.”

“The boss seems to hate me. I wonder if its because I’m the only one not brownnosing him all the time.”

Origin

This idiom is related to the idioms “to kiss ass” (or kiss butt), with the same meaning. To kiss arse, the British version of kiss ass was first recorded in 1705.

Brown nose, which is probably of military origin, alludes to butt-kissing when the butt being kissed is in need of cleaning. Originating in the 1930’s, this version of the idiom is even more vulgar than its antecedents while managing to seem less offensive. Today it is not usually considered very vulgar. 3Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.,4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

The similar idiom kiss up to is a combination of kiss ass and suck up to.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 3. Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.
2, 4. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.