thumb one's nose

thumb (one's) nose at (someone or something)

1. Literally, to perform a rude gesture in which one touches their nose with their thumb in order to express contempt or a lack of respect. Did that guy really just thumb his nose at me? Do people still do that?
2. To openly display contempt or an intentional lack of respect toward someone or something. Don't thumb your nose at the boss if you want to keep your job!
See also: nose, thumb

thumb one's nose

Express scorn or ridicule. For example, I'm sure the members of the school committee thumb their noses at any suggestion we make . This expression alludes to the traditional gesture of contempt, that is, placing the thumb under the nose and wiggling the fingers. [c. 1900]
See also: nose, thumb