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Getting Your Nose Out of Joint

It’s interesting to me how various body parts represent statements used about conflict concepts and states of ‘being’ at these times. Getting a “nose out of joint” is one of those. The origin of this phrase reportedly dates back to 1581 and was used by Barnaby Rich in His Farewell to Militarie Profession. The related quote is: “It could bee no other then his owne manne, that has thrust his nose so farre out of ioynte.” The meaning then, as it is today, is about reacting with hurt feelings and upset to an offense such as when someone gets something we want.

The visual of a ‘nose out of joint’ makes for a vivid metaphor. The image, for instance, is one of imbalance and something broken (literally and figuratively). Looking at a person with a ‘nose out of joint’ is in and of itself a painful vision and one which I imagine reflects emotions of deep hurt, anger, disappointment, betrayal, injustice, or sadness.

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider something about which you have your nose out of joint when answering the following:

  • About what specifically is your nose out of joint?
  • How do you describe what that phrase means as it applies to how you appear in this circumstance?
  • How may you look to someone observing you?
  • How do you feel with a nose out of joint?
  • At what point did your nose become disjointed?
  • What could the other person have said or done differently so that wouldn’t have happened?
  • What could you have done?
  • What could the other person say or do now to put your nose back in place? What could you do?
  • What will you achieve by putting your nose back into joint?
  • How will you describe your appearance when it is back in place?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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4 Responses to Getting Your Nose Out of Joint

  1. Susan Coen says:

    HI Cinnie, In eastern medicine the nose represents the heart so in a sense it really means our heart is out of place, or has been put out of place by an emotional reaction to a possible injustice/situation,
    Susan

  2. Cinnie Noble says:

    Hi Susan..that’s really interesting!

  3. Hi Cinnie,
    I was wondering if nose out of joint could also refer to loss of face where social rank or importance is lost because of an incident or where honour is lost in dispute or negotiation?

  4. Cinnie Noble says:

    That’s a good point Adjoa. The expression ‘nose out of joint’ is defined in the literature in the ways I described in the blog and I didn’t find meanings that included loss of face. However, I get what you mean about the idiom loss of face which for me is another vivid image that reflects the sort of impact that conflict has on us – in figurative terms. Thank you for adding your thoughts to this blog discussion.

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