up to one's nostrils

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hard to get named

New Member
Chinese
The lad is medicated up to his nostrils

Does ”up to his nostrils” have the same meaning as ”extremely” in the sentence above?
 
  • DaylightDelight

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Tokyo
    Yes, I think so. Imagine a boy-shaped balloon and fill it with medicines from its feet up to its nose -- I hope you'd get the picture.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Do you have a source for this phrase, htgn? :) Or is it something you are writing?

    I would use "He's medicated/drugged up to his eyeballs."
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Do you have a source for this phrase, htgn? :) Or is it something you are writing?

    I would use "He's medicated/drugged up to his eyeballs."
    And I would use "up to his ass," or "up to his elbows" if I didn't want the vulgarity. There are probably dozens of things you can be "up to."
     

    hard to get named

    New Member
    Chinese
    it is from a piece of review for the novel The Bear And The Dragon, the original sentence goes as follows:

    Power is delightful, and absolute power should be absolutely delightful--but not when you're the most powerful man on earth and the place is ticking like a time bomb. Jack Ryan, CIA warrior turned U.S. president, is the man in the hot seat, and in this vast thriller he's up to his nostrils in crazed Asian warlords, Russian thugs, nukes that won't stay put, and authentic, up-to-the-nanosecond technology as complex as the characters' motives are simple.

    so, does it mean "extremely" or "very much", is it used to emphasis something?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Up to his nostrils in" (something dangerous) suggests to me an image of someone in danger of drowning - only his nostrils are above water.

    I could paraphrase it as "almost submerged/overwhelmed by".
     

    Pernickety

    Member
    English - Ireland
    I would say it's a version of 'up to his eyeballs' which usually means almost at breaking point. You could be up to your eyeballs in debt = so much debt that you might not ever pay it off. You could be up to your eyeballs in nappies (when you have a small baby)= almost submerged. So, in your example, it does mean 'extremely' but the register is very familiar/colloquial, whereas 'extremely' is formal language.
     

    DaylightDelight

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Tokyo
    I think maybe I was picturing it wrongly in my #2.
    I was picturing it as "being filled with medications up to his nostrils/eyeballs" but I wonder if it is more along the lines of "to be buried in medications up to his nostrils/eyeballs".
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    I would say it's a version of 'up to his eyeballs' which usually means almost at breaking point. You could be up to your eyeballs in debt = so much debt that you might not ever pay it off. You could be up to your eyeballs in nappies (when you have a small baby)= almost submerged. So, in your example, it does mean 'extremely' but the register is very familiar/colloquial, whereas 'extremely' is formal language.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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