brown·nose or brown-nose (brounnōz′)
tr.v. brown·nosed, brown·nos·ing, brown·nos·es or brown-nosed or brown-nos·ing or brown-nos·es
To curry favor with in an obsequious manner; fawn on.
[From the image of an obsequious person whose nose becomes soiled with excrement in kissing the buttocks of someone from whom favor is sought.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.