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'Nosey' or 'Nosy': Which is Correct?

Shaun Connell
June 9, 2023

Are you wondering which is correct, 'nosey' or 'nosy?' If so, I can help!

Here is the quick answer: 

  • 'Nosey' is a common misspelling of 'nosy' but is accepted as a variation. 
  • 'Nosy' is the correct verb variation of the noun 'nose.'
  • 'Nosy' means to put your nose into something, often where it does not belong. 

So, that is the short version. However, if you want to learn more about this term, read the rest of this post. It contains usage tips, pronunciation, and examples to help you remember the correct spelling.

Which is Correct, 'Nosey' or 'Nosy?'

The grammatically correct spelling is 'nosy.' However, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists 'nosey' as a variation of 'nosy,' and many people mistakenly use 'nosey.' In fact, grammar and spelling tools do not pick either up as a misspelling.

Nevertheless, 'nosy' is correct. So, if you are writing a professional email or document, you will want to use the second version.

How to Use 'Nosy'

'Nosy' means to put your nose in things. It is usually used as a term to point out that someone is putting themself into business that is not theirs. So, here are a few suggestions for using it:

  • Use 'nosy' when you are teasing or joking with someone about them getting involved in something.

For example, you might hear someone say:

You are such a nosey Nelly. I'll tell you as soon as I can. 

  • Use 'nosy' to ask someone to get out of your business.

For example, you could say:

Please don't be so nosy. It makes it impossible to surprise you.

  • You can use 'nosy' to highlight that someone pays attention to everything.

For example, I might say something like:

My nosy neighbor is out of control. She watches everyone's house and gossips about everyone.

If you are writing an informal communication, like a text to a friend, you could use 'nosey.' Several dictionaries list 'nosey' as a variant spelling of 'nosy.' However, when you are writing formal business emails or copy for an ad, you definitely want to use the latter.

When Should You Avoid Using 'Nosey' or 'Nosy'

Despite which version you choose, there are times when you should absolutely avoid either.

For example:

  • If your boss came to you and asked you for an update on a project, you would not want to imply that they were being 'nosey' or 'nosy.'

In most cases, the term is derogatory. When you call someone 'nosy,' they are likely to take offense. So, it is important not to use the term with certain people that may get angry with you.

If you are a comedy writer, you might use the word in a joke. However, you do not want to use it in emails or formal communications. Telling a client they are nosy is a recipe for disaster.

Furthermore, you may want to avoid referring to customers as 'nosy' in general.

For example, it might offend people if you write a blog titled:

  • 'How to Deal with Nosy Customers'

Definition of 'Nosy': What Does 'Nosy' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'nosy' means:

  • Having an inquisitive or prying nature

It can also mean:

  • The quality of being known as intrusive
  • A description of someone who puts themself in the middle of other people's personal affairs

Synonyms of 'Nosy'

Knowing synonyms is beneficial if you write long-form blog posts or texts that use the same word repeatedly. You can use synonyms to prevent your writing from being repetitive and monotonous.

So, here are a few synonyms for this term.

  • Curious
  • Intrusive
  • Prying
  • Invasive
  • Meddling
  • Questioning
  • Meddlesome
  • Obtrusive
  • Interrogative
  • Quizzical
  • Snoopy
  • Investigative

Phrases Containing 'Nosy'

  • Nosy Nelly
  • Nosy neighbor
  • Notoriously nosy

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Nosy'

Now that you know which version is correct and how to use the term. Let's look at how you pronounce 'nosy.' By knowing how to pronounce words, you will be more confident in using them. Learning the correct pronunciation is important if you want to expand your vocabulary, expand your vocabulary, or become a stronger verbal and written communicator.

So, here is a quick guide:

  • You pronounce 'nosy' with this phonetic spelling:


Notice the long o and long e sounds.

Sample Sentences Using 'Nosy'

Here are some sample sentences that contain 'nosy.' Read them to ensure you know how to use the word in different contexts.

  • Very few people appreciate a nosy person in their business constantly.
  • I wish my parents weren't so nosy. I don't want them to find out I have been writing for magazines because they will want to read my freelance work.
  • My nosy neighbors cause problems for everyone. They gossip constantly and report every minor violation to the HOA because they have nothing better to do.
  • Cynthia got the greeting card out of the mail and read it. She is so nosy, and she has a big mouth. She will probably tell everyone what it says.
  • Your sister is so nosy we will never get away with sneaking out while she is awake. You know she listens to everything when she is lying in bed. So, we will have to wait until she falls asleep.
  • Tim is so annoying. He keeps asking why I became a poetry writer and he wants to read all of my work. I just don't understand why he has to be so nosy.
  • I do not like sharing my motivational quotes with her because, besides being nosy, she constantly criticizes me.
  • It is usually considered nosy and rude to ask people how much money they make. But there are articles on freelance writer rates.

Final Advice on Whether 'Nosey' or 'Nosy' is Correct

We covered a lot of information. So, here is a quick recap: 

  • 'Nosey' is a variation of 'nosy', but it is not a grammatically correct spelling. 
  • 'Nosy' is an adjective that describes someone or something as being intrusive or invasive in others' personal matters or affairs. 

I am so happy you finished reading this lesson. Learning about the correct spelling and meaning of 'nosy' will help you avoid using it incorrectly or offensively.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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