Thumbing one's nose, also known as cocking a snook,[1] is a sign of derision, contempt, or defiance, made by putting the thumb on the nose, holding the palm open and perpendicular to the face, and wiggling the remaining fingers.[2][3] It is used mostly by schoolchildren. It is also known as thumbing the nose, Anne's Fan or Queen Anne's Fan.[4][5]

Statue of a street urchin performing the gesture, Ashton-under-Lyne, UK
Stalin performing the gesture in the 1940s

The phrase "cocking a snook" can be used figuratively: the Oxford English Dictionary cites a 1938 usage "The Rome–Berlin axis...cocked the biggest snook yet at the League of Nations idea" by Eric Ambler in his Cause for Alarm.[6]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Cambridge University Press (2006). Cambridge Idioms Dictionary (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-86037-7.
  2. ^ McNeill, David (1992). Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal About Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  3. ^ 'Cock a snook' – the meaning and origin of this phrase, Retrieved at 1 January 2018
  4. ^ Shipley, Joseph Twadell (2001). The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (reprint ed.). Baltimore: JHU Press. p. 302. ISBN 0-8018-6784-3. Retrieved 8 August 2009.([failed verification] - no explicit connection to one specific Queen Anne in this source.)
  5. ^ "The British also call it "Queen Anne's fan" because it became popular during her reign, of 1702-1714." Cocking a snook at a bender, Chris Lloyd for The Northern Echo, Darlington, 6 Sep 2018, accessed 11 Oct 2021.
  6. ^ "Snook, n.3". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 1 January 2018.