Paying Through the Nose
Does anyone know where the expression "Paying Through The Nose" came from? If so - PLEASE - e-mail with your response.
Thank you very much.
Lewis Joplin II
The "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William & Mary Morris says:

"Pay through the nose. In British slang the word 'rhino' means 'money.' Rhinos is the Greek word for 'nose,' as we see in rhinoceros, the nose-horned beast. One theory, then, is that the phrase 'pay through the nose' evolved from the similarity of 'rhino' and 'rhinos.' More likely, it seems to us, is that it originated with the idea of being 'bled' for money -- via 'nosebleed.' That second theory has the advantage of sustaining the basic idea of the phrase: when you 'pay through the nose,' it's a painful procedure because you're paying an excessively high price."

From "Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins", Nigel Rees :

"A possible explanation for this lies in the nose tax' levied upon the Irish by the Danes in the ninth century. Those who did not pay had their noses slit.

The Morrises, however, come up with something completely different." (see above reply)

Return to the archive