- One of the many parts of the body which is significant if it itches, but a range of meanings have been reported since the 17th century. In Thomas Dekker's play The Honest Whore ((1604), ii. i): 'We shall ha' guests to day, I lay my little maidenhead; my nose itches so', while John *Melton (1620: 47) declares: 'When a man's nose itcheth, it is a signe he shall drink wine'. Multiple reasons, with satisfying rhythm, are often given: 'You will shake hands with or kiss a fool, drink a glass of wine, run against a cuckold's door, or miss them all four' (Connoisseur (13 Mar. 1755); compare Folk-Lore 24 (1913), 90). A similar confusion pertains to a blue vein which can appear across the top of the nose: you will drown, be hanged, die young, and so on (The Shepherd's Kalendar (1503); Lean, 1903: ii. 291; Folk-Lore 68 (1957), 413). According to Addy (1895: 144) a turned-up nose indicates deceit.See also *nosebleed.■ Lean, 1903: ii. 142, 283-8, 291; Opie and Tatem, 1989: 288; Hazlitt, 1905: 441-2.
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
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