To pick one's nose (non-euphemistically)


Senior Member
Welsh - Northern
There is an old thread here which explores the euphemistic meaning of this, so I'm not repeating it here. My interest is the verb/verbal noun of 'pick'/'picking' here.

In English, you 'pick your nose' by either inserting a finger in the nostril or using another meaning of 'pick' you 'choose' or 'select' it. (This reminds me of a so-called funny birthday card which existed which asked the recipient to 'pick her nose' from a selection on the card cover. Once she had done so, she opened the card to be greeted with 'Happy Birthday. Now wash your hands!'. Obviously, a play on words on the word 'pick'.)

Now, in Welsh, the work can only work in very informal contexts. Yes, you 'pigo trwyn' if you insert your index finger in the nasal cavity, but the standard word for 'picking/to pick' is dewis, with the idea of choosing/selecting. In very informal contexts however, and under English influence, you might use 'pigo trwyn' with the meaning of 'choose/select a nose', but this usage is generally frowned upon by language purists and many academics.

How about your language(s)?
  • alfaalfa

    Senior Member
    in Italian:
    mettere/mettersi le dita nel naso > to put one's fingers in the nose (no matter wich finger)
    scaccolarsi (fam.) > to remove bogeys from the nose
    fare le pulizie (euphemisms) > to do the cleaning

    Mister Draken

    Senior Member
    Castellano (Argentina)
    In Spanish: escarbarse la nariz. The verb can also be used regarding teeth and ears. Etimology: Del lat. scarifāre 'rascar', 'rayar superficialmente', y este del gr. σκαριφᾶσθαι skariphâsthai 'rascar', 'grabar'.


    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    In Portuguese: enfiar o dedo no nariz, lit. "to stick the finger into the nose".


    Senior Member
    Catalan: fer burilles (burilla is both a booger and a cigarette butt), treure's les cascarres ("to remove boogers", this is a very dialectal word I use), furgar-al nas ("to rummage one's nose"), ficar-se el dit al nas ("to put one's finger into the nose"), etc.

    «Σκαλίζω την μύτη» [skaˈli.zɔ tiɱ ˈmi.ti] --> to pick (one's) nose lit. to chisel, whittle; that's the ɡeneric expression.
    The verb is «σκαλίζω» [skaˈli.zɔ] --> to carve, chisel, engrave, whittle, dig, scoop < Classical v. «σκαλίζω» skălízō --> to hoe, scrape, stir up (PIE *skelh₂-/*skelh₃- to split, tear cf Hitt. iškall- to split, tear, Lat. sculpere, Lith. skeliu, to split, Arm. ցելում (cʿelum), to split, cut).

    -ΜοGr fem. noun «μύτη» [ˈmi.ti] --> nose; it's the name of nose in the vernacular since Byzantine times which replaced the difficult Classical name for it, «ῥίς» rʰī́s (fem. 3rd declension nom. sinɡ.), «ῥῑνός» rʰīnós (ɡen. sinɡ.).
    It derives from the Classical fem. «μύτ(τ)ις» mút(t)ĭs (nom. sinɡ.), «μύτιδος» mútĭdŏs (ɡen. sinɡ.) --> snout, possibly related to the Pre-Greek «μύσταξ» mústăks (masc. nom. sinɡ.), «μύστακος» mústăkŏs (ɡen. sinɡ.) --> upper lip, moustache
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    Senior Member
    Russian: ковыряться в носу (kovuryát'sya v nosú), from ковыря́ть (kovyryát') ~~ "to dig a surface with a pointed object".


    Senior Member
    dłubać w nosie ... what does w mean here?
    'w nosie' literally 'in / inside your nose'. And we, like the Czechs, don't have any such expression meaning 'selecting' either. By the way, when a child tries to pick their nose, we often say: Nie dłub w nosie, boś nie prosię. (Don't pick your nose cause you're not a piglet!)
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    Senior Member
    Good morning all, very interesting, first I have thought only Italian uses a specific verb, but here in Wiktionary there are more interesting verbs (pulken, popeln) . In colloquial Hungarian we say bányászik which means to be mining.