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1. verb To try to curry favor with someone through flattery or favors in the hopes of getting something in return. I'm not doing well at all in math this year, so it seems like brownnosing the teacher is my only hope for a good grade! Don't brownnose me with chocolates and sweet talk—just tell me what you want!
2. noun One who seeks out the approval, attention, and/or support of others, especially superiors, through abject subservience, flattery, or fawning. Tim is such an obvious brownnose, always complementing the boss on her ideas and saying yes to anything she suggests.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

brown nose

Solicit favor obsequiously, toady. For example, Harry was always brown nosing, but it didn't help his grades. This term originated in the military in the late 1930s, where it meant "to curry favor"; it alludes to ass-kissing when the backside being kissed is less than clean. Despite its scatological origin, today this slangy term is not considered particularly vulgar.
See also: brown, nose
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. and brownie and brown-noser n. a sycophant; one who flatters for self-serving motives. You are just a plain old brown-nose. Will some brown-noser please try to get the teacher to put off the test?
2. tv. & in. to curry favor with someone; to be a sycophant. Don keeps brown-nosing, and the professor pretends not to notice.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In your case, I'd love to read about corruption in your English Department, the pol-correct indoctrination, lack of free speech and ostracism of those who dare, fraudulent Critical Thinking courses, corrupt usage of student evaluations and letters of recommendation, inequitable treatment of faculty members, egregious brownnosing faculty, fraudulent faculty evaluations, refusal to hire and blacklisting of English professors who dare decry the crap out there, etc.
While you may shrug off what you deem to be brownnosing, keep in mind that those students may have an advantage over you.
They know exactly how susceptible you are to flattery and brownnosing. They see whether you take risks or avoid them.
Say, for example, that this individual disparages a co-worker's rapid promotions as being gained through brownnosing. Colleagues see no evidence of the co-worker's supposed subservience.
Thus, two decades after Riesman chronicled the moral poverty of the corporate poltroon, faux-feminist magazines began appropriating for their sex the brownnosing and venal chicanery that men had so long mastered.
Here he is on top Uriah Heep form brownnosing to nice-but-inarticulate star guest David Beckham: "I've been a fan of yours for many years...
Do you think making the boss look good is brownnosing? If so, you do not understand corporate politics.
As a Filipino immigrant in the United States, I have observed this tendency of many Filipinos to be obliging and accommodating to Americans to the point of brownnosing them.
They just can't stop brownnosing. "You really love sport," slithers forelock-touching Ross as his boring old guest drones on about the wonderfulness of everyone he's ever met.