thumb your nose at somebody/something

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 your nose at

show disdain or contempt for. Compare with cock a snook (at snook).
See also: nose, thumb

thumb your ˈnose at somebody/something

show that you have no respect for somebody/something, sometimes by making a rude sign with your thumb on the end of your nose: A photograph shows one of the crowd thumbing his nose at the speaker.
References in classic literature ?
But, nevertheless, it is anything but agreeable to be haunted by a suspicion that one's intellect is dwindling away, or exhaling, without your consciousness, like ether out of a phial; so that, at every glance, you find a smaller and less volatile residuum.
It was also distilled to a volatile salts for fainting ladies, the same way that the horns of the male deer are manufactured into hartshorn.
Adolph and Rosa had arranged the chamber; volatile, fickle and childish, as they generally were, they were soft-hearted and full of feeling; and, while Miss Ophelia presided over the general details of order and neatness, it was their hands that added those soft, poetic touches to the arrangements, that took from the death-room the grim and ghastly air which too often marks a New England funeral.
Arch, volatile, a sportive bird, By social glee inspired; Ambitious to be seen or heard, And pleased to be admired
Raymond is a witness what ginger and sal volatile I am obliged to take in the night.
It was after the early supper-time at the Red House, and the entertainment was in that stage when bashfulness itself had passed into easy jollity, when gentlemen, conscious of unusual accomplishments, could at length be prevailed on to dance a hornpipe, and when the Squire preferred talking loudly, scattering snuff, and patting his visitors' backs, to sitting longer at the whist-table--a choice exasperating to uncle Kimble, who, being always volatile in sober business hours, became intense and bitter over cards and brandy, shuffled before his adversary's deal with a glare of suspicion, and turned up a mean trump-card with an air of inexpressible disgust, as if in a world where such things could happen one might as well enter on a course of reckless profligacy.
The sum of his discourse was to this effect: "That about forty years ago, certain persons went up to Laputa, either upon business or diversion, and, after five months continuance, came back with a very little smattering in mathematics, but full of volatile spirits acquired in that airy region: that these persons, upon their return, began to dislike the management of every thing below, and fell into schemes of putting all arts, sciences, languages, and mechanics, upon a new foot.
Pigling Bland listened gravely; Alexander was hopelessly volatile.
The phial, to which I next turned my attention, might have been about half full of a blood-red liquor, which was highly pungent to the sense of smell and seemed to me to contain phosphorus and some volatile ether.
In the universal decay this volatile substance had chanced to survive, perhaps through many thousands of centuries.
He could distinguish amid the perfumes of the roses and heliotropes in the flower-stands, the sharp and fragrant odor of volatile salts, and he noticed in one of the chased cups on the mantle-piece the countess's smelling-bottle, taken from its shagreen case, and exclaimed in a tone of uneasiness, as he entered, -- "My dear mother, have you been ill during my absence?
It is evident that men incline to call those conditions habits which are of a more or less permanent type and difficult to displace; for those who are not retentive of knowledge, but volatile, are not said to have such and such a 'habit' as regards knowledge, yet they are disposed, we may say, either better or worse, towards knowledge.
They want more fenders, more breasting- ropes; they want more springs, more shackles, more fetters; they want to make ships with volatile souls as motionless as square blocks of stone.
Would that volatile mind, that inconstant heart, be likely to be fixed for a moment, even were it to gaze upon an angel?
But as to his mother she is not as volatile as all that.