thumb your nose at someone

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 someone

COMMON If you thumb your nose at someone or something powerful, you show your lack of respect for them. Some of these repeat offenders are simply laughing at authority and thumbing their noses at the court. Workers are laid off while bosses are given enormous pay increases, thus thumbing their noses at both employees and consumers. Note: You can describe this behaviour as nose-thumbing. Some have dismissed the gesture as no more than adolescent nose-thumbing. Note: To thumb your nose at someone literally means to make a rude gesture by placing the end of your thumb on the end of your nose, spreading out your fingers, and wiggling them. Compare with cock a snook at someone.
See also: nose, someone, thumb