MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Why do we say "It's no skin off my nose"?

Well-Known Expressions

It's no skin off my nose

Meaning:

It doesn't bother me

Background:

There seem to be many different theories on the source of this expression. Gregory Titelman's America's Popular Proverbs and Sayings says the expression of of boxing origin and dates from the early 20th century. The expression is used in a 1910 edition of Cosmopolitan, back when it was called The Cosmopolitan and was a "family magazine" very different to its current incarnation.

But others disagree, with some claiming it that its roots are not in the boxing arena but in the mill - that it is, in essence, the opposite of "putting your nose to the grindstone" - the fact that there is no skin off my nose indicates that I didn't put in as much effort as the person who put their nose in the grindstone, so to speak.

The boxing background appears to carry the most credibility - but for some light relief you might enjoy this colorful tale involving 16th century clandestine cabbage worshipers sticking their noses through holes in doors!

Incidentally, apparently some say "it's no skin off my teeth", which appears to be a muddled version of the expression under discussion and "skin of my teeth", which has its origins in the Book of Job: "My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth."

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Revisioners
    The Revisioners
    by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
    The chapters of Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's second novel, The Revisioners, alternate between three ...
  • Book Jacket: Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
    Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
    by Dexter Palmer
    The year is 1726 and the sleepy town of Godalming has been rocked by scandal. Called to the bedside ...
  • Book Jacket: Life Undercover
    Life Undercover
    by Amaryllis Fox
    Life Undercover, a riveting true-adventure memoir, reveals how and why a young woman decides to work...
  • Book Jacket: Celestial Bodies
    Celestial Bodies
    by Jokha Alharthi
    One typically expects to find a detailed family tree adorning the opening pages of, say, an epic ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper

"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    You Were There Too
    by Colleen Oakley

    Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins
    by Katarina Bivald

    A heartwarming story of love, friendship, and the art of living.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Giveaway!
Win American Dirt

"A Grapes of Wrath for our times." - Don Winslow

This debut is already being hailed as a new American classic, and is the first book to receive a perfect 5-stars from BookBrowse reviewers!

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I A Broke, D F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.