What does “Nosy” Mean?
In this English lesson, I’m going to talk about the meaning of “nosy.” The spelling can be different in American and British English. In America, it tends to be spelled “nosy,” while in the UK it’s spelled “nosey.”
“Nosy” of course, comes from the word nose. So, if a person is nosy, it basically means that they are sticking their nose in other people’s business, or other people’s affairs.
If somebody is trying to get information, you know, personal or private information about somebody else, about something that somebody else is doing, then we can say, “That person is nosy.” And this is usually used in the context of somebody who wants the information, because maybe they want to gossip or they just like to know what other people are doing in an intrusive type of way.
So let’s say that you hear your neighbor’s arguing or fighting about something. They’re talking loud, and so you sneak over quietly and you try to listen to see what they’re saying. You’re being nosy, because it’s not any of your business. It’s not related to you; you should just stay away and let them have their private conversation.
Or, maybe if you are using your phone, you’re looking at some things and somebody else comes over and tries to look at what you are reading on your phone. They’re being nosy, because you might be looking at something personal. And the other person is coming over and they’re trying to see what you’re looking at, when you are obviously not offering to let them see.
Here are a couple more example sentences:
“Nobody likes Mark. He’s so nosy.”
“I don’t mean to be nosy, but what are you reading?”
“Nobody likes a nosy person.”
In case you didn’t realize this, the term “nosy” is a negative term. So, we use it when we are not happy about how the person is acting. In some situations, it’s good to get involved in other people’s affairs, if you’re helping them or if it’s appropriate for you to get involved.
So, in some cases you can do this without being nosy,. The term “nosy” is a negative when you’re doing it for the wrong reason, when you’re doing it maybe for gossip, or for your own entertainment, or some other negative reason.
Well, thanks for reading the lesson. If you need more help with your English, check out our private classes with an American teacher.