Nosy or nosey – which one is correct?

Everyone has come across a person who pokes their nose into other people’s affairs at least once in a lifetime. Hopefully you will not have to write a note to your neighbours asking them to mind their own business and stop being so… Actually, is it nosey or nosy? Which is the correct answer? Read this article to make sure you know the correct usage of this adjective!

Nosy or nosey which one is correct meaning definition correct form examples

Nosy or nosey – what is the difference?

Is there any difference between nosy and nosey? Are they the same word, with a spelling variant? There is no difference in the pronunciation of these two, but what about the meaning? Is there only one correct spelling? Is one of them a present participle? As you will see in the further section of this article, there is no difference in the meaning of nosy and nosey either, and they are both correct!

Nosey vs nosy – which form is correct?

How do you spell nosy correctly? Or… how do you spell nosey correctly? The adjective in question is a combination of the noun nose with the adjective suffix -y (meaning “full of” or “having the quality of”). Hence, your first and obvious choice could be the spelling nosey. However, you might be surprised that, although both are correct, and the nosy and nosey meaning is the same, it is actually nosy that is the more common spelling, both in British and American English.


Nosy or nosey – the correct form

So why it is the word nosy that is the most common form? The answer is that when a word ends on a silent “e”, it is generally dropped before adding a suffix that starts with a vowel.

Nosey is still correct, though less common. The vast majority of online dictionaries list nosy ahead of alternative spelling nosey, and nosey is defined as a variant of nosy. That is why most individuals will find nosy the most acceptable option. Still, even if you opt for nosey, there is no incorrect usage.

Some other forms related to nosy/nosey are:

  • nosier (comparative adjective)
  • nosiest (superlative adjective)
  • nosily (adverb)
  • nosiness (noun)

Nosy vs nosey – the meaning

The meaning of nosy in English carries a negative connotation and means offensively curious or inquisitive. When someone is nosy, they are too interested in things that do not concern them, especially other people’s affairs. See the nosey nosy examples below:

  • Don’t be so nosy – mind your own business!
  • She is complaining about her nosy in-laws.
  • Actually, I do not mind having nosy neighbors!
  • My neighbours are just too nosy.
  • What irritates her most in this person’s behavior is that they are so nosey!


Nosy or nosey? Now it is all clear! More examples of these terms in sentences

She was the nosiest woman in the world and spent most of her life spying on the boring, law-abiding neighbours.

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Big nosy Shirley points her finger at us and says, “The meeting is at seven so be on time. No excuses!”

Kathryn Stockett, The Help

She didn’t mean to be nosy, but she couldn’t help being curious.

Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

Written by

After graduating with a MA in English Philology, Kasia lived for almost five years in the UK facing the challenge of trying to master the intricacies of English language, which is her consuming passion. Other things she enjoys doing in her spare time are singing in a local parish band, embroidery, reading, cycling, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.