count noses

count noses

To count the number of people in a group to ensure that everyone is present. Everyone, take your seats on the bus so that I can count noses before we leave the museum.
See also: count, nose

count noses

Also, count heads. Reckon up the number of those present. For example, The theater seemed only half-full, so the producer decided to count noses, or Our tour leader was always careful to count heads before the bus started off. This idiom was originally put as tell noses. [Mid-1600s]
See also: count, nose

count noses

count people, typically in order to determine the numbers in a vote.
See also: count, nose

count noses, to

To determine the number of persons present. The term may come from horse dealers, who count their stock by the nose (whereas cattle dealers count by the “head”). However, it has been around a long time, since the seventeenth century, when it was sometimes put as “to tell noses.” In 1711 the earl of Shaftesbury, a moral philosopher who studied with John Locke, wrote, “Some modern zealots appear to have no better knowledge of truth, nor better manner of judging it, than by counting noses” (Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times).
See also: count
References in periodicals archive ?
"You can't count noses and take a poll of how many are for and how many are against,'' he said.
In some cases judges say that agencies may not count noses, but I will say that agencies should be allowed to do so.
Part II asks when agencies may count noses, focusing on cases in which laws bar agencies from counting expert noses.
In this interesting example of how multidisciplinary approaches are working in scholarship today, Dennis does not merely count noses at concerts or parades but performs ethnologies of the emotions of the musician/cops and their audiences, noting the power of music on emotion.
That's one of the reasons we still count noses in news meetings and wonder why males outnumber women 2-to- 1.
"Churchill knew that Hitler wanted to invade Gib, so when Sir Winston heard that only seven apes were left on the Rock, he imported seven more from Morocco." Churchill also decreed that the number of monkeys should never fall below 24 and appointed an army officer to count noses. The rest is history: The apes returned, the British stayed, and the Germans never came.