Nosy parker – English Idiom – Online English Lessons

May 2, 2010 by Angela

A nosy parker is someone who is very inquisitive and too interested in other people’s private lives and business.

Informal British English.

This idiom can also be written as ‘nosey parker‘.

The expression is used to show that you disapprove of, or find annoying, a person who is asking too many questions.

The origins of this idiom aren’t clear, but in his Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Eric Partridge suggests that this saying might have its origins in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park, London. Hyde Park was full of people, and there would have been many opportunities for ‘nosy parkers‘ to secretly listen to other people’s private conversations, and to spy on courting couples.

The word ‘parker’ means ‘park-keeper’ (a person officially in charge of a public park) so perhaps the nosy parkers were the actual park-keepers.

Examples of use:

1. You ask too many questions. Don’t be such a nosy parker.

2. Her neighbours are a couple of nosy parkers. They want to know everything about her and her family.

Image by Noël Zia Lee

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