Sunday, March 16, 2014

Today’s Idiom – Pay Through the Nose

Hi everyone,

A couple of weeks ago I began a new series about idioms. The first idiom was spill the beans. As I told you, Americans (and other native English speakers) use a great number of idioms. It makes the English language beautiful, varied and alive. If you try to learn them, it is a great adventure. In this series within my blog, I can show only a few idioms, but I’m going to introduce books, websites, and video channels that can help you.

Today I’m writing about the idiom “pay through the nose”. What does it mean? The explanation of this idiom is as follows:to pay excessively; to pay an exorbitant price; to pay too much for something (usually + for); to pay too high of a price. 

Let’s see this idiom in some example sentences:

If you want a decent wine in a restaurant, you have to pay through the nose for it.
If you bring a car into the city, you have to pay through the nose for parking. (you can have the word 'it' here, but I think it sounds better without it) 
I had to pay through the nose to stay at that fancy resort.
I was looking for that toy for a long time. I finally found it even though I had to pay through the nose for it. 
Don’t buy groceries at that supermarket. You’ll have to pay through the nose. = You’ll pay more than they’re worth.
We paid through the nose to get the car fixed and it still doesn't work properly.

One of my favorite books (about American idioms) is 101 American English Idioms by Harry Collis. 

It has funny illustrations by Mario Risso beside a list of examples.

  How does this book explain this idiom?

Finally, let’s turn to Rachel’s English. 

She has a series on idioms. She always explains what an idiom means and how to pronounce it.

You also can read the transcript as well: 
“Today we're going to go over the pronunciation for the idiom 'to pay through the nose'. You might use this phrase when you are talking about something that you've paid a large amount of money for. For example, someone might say, I love your car and you might say, Yes, I paid through the nose for it. Or, for example, I paid through the nose for my computer and it broke in the first week. Another example: I'd like to live in Manhattan, but you have to pay through the nose to live there. Pay begins with the unvoiced pp P consonant sound and is followed by the 'ay' as in 'say' diphthong [eɪ]. Pay. Through. The TH here is unvoiced th [θ], th, through. The R sound [ɹ] is followed by the 'oo' as in 'boo' vowel sound [u]. Pay through. Pay through. The. Here, the TH is voiced, and the schwa sound [ə] makes up the rest of the word. Nose begins with the N consonant sound, followed by the 'oh' as in 'no' diphthong [oʊ], no-, no-, and finally, zz, the voiced Z consonant sound. Nose. Pay through the nose. The two stressed words in this phrase are pay, pay, or paid if you are speaking in the past tense, and nose. You have to pay through the nose.” 

I used the following websites and books to write this blog post:  
Rachel’s English and her video channel 
Cambridge Dictionaries Online 
The Free dictionary by Farlex (Idioms) 
Idiomatric American English by Barbara K. Gaines
The 800 most commonly used idioms in America by Paul S. Gruber   

And now I have a question for you guys: do you know other idioms with a similar meaning? If you do, please write it / them as a comment here.

Hi Gardeniafly,

What can you add to this post?

To pay through the nose is kind of a funny expression now that I have spent some time thinking about it. I was looking up the origin of this expression and I found the following on this website.
Origin: Comes from the ninth-century Ireland. When the Danes conquered the Irish, they imposed an exorbitant Nose Tax on the island's inhabitants. They took a census (by counting noses) and levied oppressive sums on their victims, forcing them to pay by threatening to have their noses actually slit. Paying the tax was "paying trough the nose."

It's great! We've already got to know where this idioms come from. 

Thank you very much.




  1. thank you a lot . . it's very good , i like it :)
    hmm unfortunately i have no similar idiom in my mind now :)

    1. thanks for these Examples, pronunciation, and vocabulary..... but I wanna next time, Please! try to give us some FUNNY examples on every idiom��������

  2. Many people will get lot of benefits by reading this kind of informational stuff .Thank you so much for this .
    Online grammar