I've got your nose

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"Got your nose" hand position, with tip of thumb representing the stolen "nose"

I've Got Your Nose, or Got Your Nose, is a children's game in which one person pretends to pluck the nose from another's face (usually a child). It is an example of teaching small children about playful deceit.[citation needed]


To play I've Got Your Nose, the first person forms a fist, and puts the knuckles of the index and middle fingers on either side of a child's nose.[1] The fist is then withdrawn from the child's face with the thumb of the "thief" protruding between the index and middle fingers; the thumb represents the stolen nose. This motion is often accompanied by an exclamation such as "I've got your nose!"

The child may chase the nose thief to retrieve their nose or may retaliate by stealing the first person's (or someone else's) nose. The "nose" may then be replaced by pressing the thumb to the child's nose and withdrawing the hand, showing the child that the taker no longer possesses the child's nose.[1]


This game is commonly played between children, as well as between adults (e.g., parents, grandparents, uncles) and their young relatives. Young children to the age of 2 or 3 often find the game amusing.[2] Cognitively, this is because three-year-olds have trouble recognizing that a thing may look like one thing yet be another, whereas four-year-olds are twice as likely to have that ability.[3] The game is an example of teaching pro-social lying or playful deception to children.[4]

This game is found mainly in the English-speaking world, but also exists elsewhere. For instance in France, it is known as "Je t'ai volé/piqué ton nez!" (I stole your nose).[5]

Cultural specificity[edit]

In certain cultures, such as in Korea,[6] Central America,[7] Japan,[8] ,Turkey[9] Italy, and the Mediterranean region displaying the "got your nose" hand position is seen as vulgar gesture, representing a female external reproductive organs (vulva, clitoris) or the analogue of "the male" middle finger gesture. Observers of the game from these cultures will be shocked to see the gesture used in a children's game.[8]


The "got your nose" hand position may be used in Thai yoga massage to protect the tendons of the thumbs.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Haws, Ileen. Nothin' 2 Do. 2008. p.46.
  2. ^ Jones, Katina Z. The Everything Get Ready for Baby Book. 2007. p.235.
  3. ^ Ostroff, Wendy. Understanding How Young Children Learn. 2012. p.69.
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Deception. Timothy R. Levine, ed. 2014. p.138.
  5. ^ Moreau, Laurent. Le guide de survie du jeune papa. 2013. p.94.
  6. ^ Waterhouse, Matthew. Konglish. 2012. p.45.
  7. ^ Proceedings - Pacific Northwest Council on Foreign Languages, Volume 28, Part 2. 1976. p.52.
  8. ^ a b Doherty-Sneddon, Gwyneth. Children's Unspoken Language. 2003. p.87.
  9. ^ Hagen, Shelly. Body Language Basics. 2011.
  10. ^ Reed, Heath and Nicole Errico-Reed. Table Thai Yoga Massage. 2014. p.85.
  11. ^ Ragnar (2004). Got Your Nose: A True Story. Baby Tattoo Books. ISBN 0-9729388-1-8.
  12. ^ "Insane Clown Poppy". The Simpsons. Season 12. Episode BABF17. 2000-11-12.
  13. ^ "The Jeffersons". South Park. Season 8. April 21, 2004.