Idiomatic Vocabulary 12: turning up your nose

The Phrase

  To turn your nose up (at sth.)

Its Definition

A verb phrase meaning you don’t want to do, use, or accept sth. kindly offered to you.


This is useful for IELTS because people generally try to help others in the world, so not accepting, or not having your offer accepted, can be quite common. Since this usually involves refusing a kind offer, the phrase can be negative.

Following Rule 2 (See Introduction), this phrase is too long for formal writing, and so should not be used there.

Note: it would be hard to say this, and not perform the ‘body language’ as described – turning up your nose.

Example Sentences

In IELTS Speaking

  • “So, I offered to drive her home, but she just turned her nose up.”
  • “Sometimes I just don’t get it! Students ask me for help, say they desperately need a good IELTS mark, but when I recommend my IELTS books, but they just turn up their noses and walk away.”
  • “Oh, whenever they offer me something, I just basically turn up my nose.”
  • “Cats are so fussy. Basically, they’ll turn up their noses at just about everything.”