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To make observations or look through things, often subtly or stealthily, in an attempt to discover something. The phrase sometimes but not always implies that someone is prying into something that is not their business. Quit nosing about in my room! Mom, he's looking through my drawers again! I nosed about in the old file cabinets, but I wasn't able to find any of the documents we're looking for.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
nose about (for someone or something)and nose around (for someone or something)
to search here and there to find someone or something. We spent an hour nosing about for a newspaper. I will nose around for someone to help you. We nosed about for a while, but found no one.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Also, nose around. Look for something, especially something private or hidden. For example, She was always nosing about the kitchen, looking in all the cupboards, or The detective nosed around the apartment. [Second half of 1800s]
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.