tossed out of his heirdom on his prodigal snout - on snout?

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Annakrutitskaya

Senior Member
Russian
Hello!

What exactly does 'on his snout' mean in the following sentence:

The cardinal smashes his fist on the table. 'I'll tell you how. I shall get his father down from the borders, and if the prodigal defies him, he will be tossed out of his heirdom on his prodigal snout. (H. Mantel "Wolf Hall")

Is 'snout' used in the meaning of 'nose'? Why 'on snout' and what does it mean?

Thank you!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Probably just 'nose', yes. Throwing someone out on their nose is a particularly painful or humiliating way of throwing them out: so they fall down and crush their nose. We also have an expression about snouts in a trough: a rich or corrupt person is compared to a pig feeding greedily. There may be a hint of that here (he won't get the rich benefits of his heirdom), though I don't know if it's appropriate for the century in which this book is set.
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Probably just 'nose', yes. Throwing someone out on their nose is a particularly painful or humiliating way of throwing them out: so they fall down and crush their nose. We also have an expression about snouts in a trough: a rich or corrupt person is compared to a pig feeding greedily. There may be a hint of that here (he won't get the rich benefits of his heirdom), though I don't know if it's appropriate for the century in which this book is set.
    Thank you very much for your help! :)
     
    Agreeing with entangled. We say, "The manager tossed out the drunken customer on his nose," referring to an imagined landing of the fellow, face and nose first. Similarly, we say, metaphorically, "The young man fell on his nose in attempting to impress the professor, for he misquoted Homer." If someone trips, they might, in this worst case, land on their 'nose,' i.e. face.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    We usually throw someone out "on their ear". I can imagine the cardinal shouting these words in a fury, with emphasis on the rhyming "out" and "snout". "Snout" instead of "nose" shows that he despises the young man.
     
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