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What does this phrase "pay through the nose" mean? what through the nose? snot?
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Hello Floral

Not snot.

It means 'to pay too much', 'to pay an unnecessarily high price'.

Thus 'I paid through the nose for my jacuzzi' means 'I paid an unnecessarily high price for my jacuzzi'.

(I hasten to add I don't have a jacuzzi.)

MrP
MrP
I hope that you don't have to pay through the nose for your jacuzzi.
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Floral, I was hoping that if I gave them a mention, they'd send me a free one...
Does it have anything to do with the process of mummification where they remove the body's brain from the nasal passages? Man, that's just gross typing it out.
Yet essential.
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This actually relates to Viking times - if the vikings raided your estate and took over the neighbours as well they would consider their conquests taxable. those who couldn't pay the tax had their nose sliced open - Hence pay thru the nose
I have on notion of what 'their nose sliced open's mean.
'To have one's nose sliced open' means that someone else has cut one's nose down the middle with a knife.

It would be curious if the Viking Theory were true. 'To pay through the nose' means 'to pay too much'. It seems however that those whose noses were 'sliced open' had paid nothing at all.

I'm not sure how a phrase that describes a punishment could evolve into a phrase that implies gullibility. ('To pay with the nose' would have made more sense, in that context.)

It seems that the phrase isn't recorded till the 17th century. Moreover, the word 'pay' came into Middle English from the Old French. This all points to a formation later than the Viking period; unless the phrase was popularised by some historical work.

I wonder whether similar phrases exist in other languages, and whether they predate the English: is 'payer par le nez' simply a translation, for instance?

MrP
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