Talk:Human nose

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Discussion of Nasology copied over from Talk:Nose. The talk page at Nose was not copied over over when this article was split off from Nose.

I have removed the following section from the article because Talking Heads - Phrenology at the Countway Library of Medicine describes Nasology as "an extended joke at the expense of phrenology":

==Shapes of the human nose==

Human noses can take many different shapes according to the individual. An attempt to make a classification of noses was made in Eden Warwick's Nasology, where the following classes are presented, associating them with character traits in a way akin to phrenology, this

  • Class I: The Roman, or Aquiline nose, which is rather convex, but undulating as its name aquiline imports.
  • Class II: The Greek or Straight nose, which is perfectly straight
  • Class III: The African, or Wide-nostrilled nose, wide at the end, thick and broad, gradually widening from below the bridge. The other noses are seen in profile, but this one in full face.
  • Class IV: The Jewish or Hawk nose, which is very convex, and preserves its convexity like a bow. It is thin and sharp
  • Class V: The Snub nose
  • Class VI: The Turn-up or Celestial nose, with a continuous concavity from the eyes to the tip

-- Donald Albury(Talk) 12:37, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd keep this paragraph: the classification in se is correct, the figures are nice, but it is the interpretation that was intended to mock phrenology. I'll add however some extended comment to explain it. LHOON 12:51, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Be careful of Class IV. Calling that caricature of a nose Jewish smacks of anti-Semitism. I am against using any part of this, as the classification scheme itself was part of the joke. I think the whole thing is in very poor taste, and does not belong in the Nose article. It might be appropriate in Phrenology as an example of the reaction to Phrenology, but I do not think it belongs here. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 14:01, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
It seems interesting to me to keep a paragraph about human nose morphology. Rather than engaging in an edit and revert war about this however, let's get some other people's opinion about this issue, maybe there are other proposals too, that's what a talk page is for! LHOON 14:10, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
I suggest removing it because these arbitrary distinctions in nose shape are obscure. They are also named after racial groups which is not objective. An objective approach would be to name them by shape, but even then there are more shapes than listed on the drawing gallery.--Dark Tichondrias 21:45, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Calling that caricature of a nose Jewish smacks of anti-Semitism. Don't be ridiculous. And this is why you prefer that the public remain uninformed about the different types of noses? -- 03:07, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Calling that shape of nose Jewish is indeed a common tactic of anti-semites. I also question the reality of the so-called nose types. Noses vary in many ways, and trying to assign them to types is subjective and not useful, especially when some of the types are called Roman, Greek, African and Jewish. -- Donald Albury 23:33, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Obviously, this is a sensitive to subject to many people, but rather than erasing the classifications, I propose that we include them in a historical and social context. The article needs discussion of the fact that in the past, anthropologists (and popular imagination) have assigned intellectual characteristics to physical features (essentially, races). Anti-Semitism and racism take this further to imputing "moral" characteristics to physical features. This would be a perfect place for a mention of the use of the disputed "Jewish nose" for propaganda purposes, for example in Nazi Germany. As to whether "nasology" (or whatever the classification of noses is called) is a joke: as late as 1949 a Yiddish textbook, Uriel Weinreich's College Yiddish, took nasal types seriously enough to include an informal survey listing the various types of noses that Jewish people possessed in a particular city, showing that they do not fall categorically under the "Jewish" type. Perhaps in this article we should take out the ethnic description of the noses, as Donald Albury suggested, and list the types by their shape only, though some discussion of ethnicity in historical or social context should be included somewhere. Travis P. Johnson 05:15, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
A well-sourced discussion of the use and mis-use of nose shapes to classify and pre-judge people would be good. The point I was making is that the cited source for 'Nasology' was apparantly intended to mock Phrenology, and was not intented to be taken seriously. -- Donald Albury 02:02, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
"A well-sourced discussion of the use and mis-use of nose shapes to classify and pre-judge people" does not belong on an article on the nose, IMHO. I personally think it would belong better in an article about invalid stereotypes. --Kjoonlee 02:43, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Also, it didn't look like it was particularly well-sourced, and neither was it a neat discussion. If info on nose morphology would be nice, something else would definitely be better. --Kjoonlee 02:54, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
One other thing: my nose doesn't fit with any of those types... -- 02:04, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I'll look to some other historical sources and try to find suitable figures. However, any connection between nose shape and personality traits should be considered - at the very least - controversial and should be treated with reserve. LHOON 08:12, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Can you have a mix of two 'types'?I seem to have the bump desribed in class I (at the top of the nose). Then curves back in and finally goes into kind of a ski dip at the septum turning up, like the last class. If you run a finger over it, it is kind of a wave. And juts out heaps from the face (i have a very high nose bridge). Any ideas what 'category' my nose fits in? Some people have described it as 'Russian'... (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 17:15, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

@ Albury: The noses are named Greek, Roman etc. after the nose forms on Greek/Roman statues that vary. Anyone with common sese will understand that all Greeks and/or Italians don't have noses of that sort. It's simply a human trait, we just have to have a name for everything and catalogue it. --DerMeister (talk) 13:49, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

And which statues are the models for the "Jewish" and "African" noses? -- Donald Albury 02:56, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
The book these came from is called "Notes on Noses" by Richard Bentley (published in 1852), you can find the PDF by searching. It is quite ridiculous and makes claims about ones character based on their nose shape (mocking Phrenology, as stated above). Since it is not remotely scientific and misses many types, it should really be replaced. Wouldn't plastic surgeons have more accurate information? Ezweave80 (talk) 05:41, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it should be replaced, but not until we can find something more useful. If there is a more accurate classification of nose-types from the areas of nose morphology or plastic surgery, then we should use those instead. But so far, this is the closest thing anyone could find to a legitimate nose classification system. Many of todays terms started out as jokes, and if we don't want the nose-classification system proposed by "Nasology" to become the dominant paradigm, then we need to come up with a system that does a better job of classifying and categorizing noses than Nasology does.
In terms of the noses being called "Greek", "Roman", "African" and "Jewish", these terms are only derogotory if we accept the idea that some nose shapes are intrinsically better (i.e., more desirable or more aesthetic) than others. Since this classification system does not assert that any given nose-type is 'better' than any other (except in a mocking, satyrical sense) then we cannot conclude that this system is promoting one ethnicity over another. Therefore, without a judgement of which nose-shape or ethnicity is 'better' or 'worse', this system is unable to promote prejudice against any given type of human.
In terms of the accuracy of the classification system, it should be noted that all rules (especially those that deal with humans) have exceptions (e.g., "men are taller than women", "those of European descent have less pigmentation than those of African descent", "women have longer hair than men", etc.) So the real quesiton is not whether every last individual accurately falls into the 'right' category every single time, but rather, whether or not there is a more useful rule for classifying noses than the one proposed by Nasology. I personally believe there is, and if I'm the first to find it then I'll post it here. In the meantime, I'd encourage anyone else with a better classification system to post it here, especially if it is less laden with social and historical baggage than the system proposed by the mock-science of Nasology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you approve of stereotyping? -- Donald Albury 20:23, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Interesting question. There are many definitions of stereotyping, but most of them involve "an oversimplified conceptuialization of human groups" and a "positive or negative assessment of the type of person being stereotyped". So no, I'm not in favor of an oversimplified conception of people's noses or in assessing the 'positive' or 'negative' attributes of any given nose shape. The system proposed by Nasology is the least-simple of any system that has been proposed so far. We can't get rid of it just by deleting it (or else others would undelete it). But we can make it look ridiculous and outdated by proposing a better, more accurate system (hopefully one that doesn't mention ethnicities at all).
The concepts of 'categorization' and 'evaluation' are related, but not identical. In the past, people may have put different nose shapes into different categories, and then evaluated some of those categories as being better than others. However, it is possible to classify things without passing judgement on which categories are better or worse. For example, the fact that women were systematically subordinated in the past does not invalidate the current genetic and social categories of gender, which include 'male' and 'female'. It just means that ranking males as 'better' and females as 'worse' is an immoral and disfunctional practice. So far you have made a good case that systematic nose-based discrimination has occured in the past, and I think this should be part of the article. But categories are not inherently incorrect simply because they have been misused by others in the past. And as I said before, they are not invalid simply because they have exceptions (since all rules dealing with humans have exceptions). But they are invalid if they are replaced by better, more accurate systems. So to make a long argument short: 1) the current system blows (no pun intended) 2) but it's the best we have, so 3) let's get busy on finding or constructing a better one (preferably one that does not involve ethnic terms) so that the classification system proposed by 'Nasology' will not become permanent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


This page has been vandalized. I can't fix it really, but search for 9 miles. And "famous people with noses" doesn't make sense. (talk) 00:20, 2 April 2008 (UTC)


[to D. A.] Hi. I notice you continue reverting the sourced material I've added to the page Human nose on the grounds that it isn't in Socrates's article. I understand that the "rule" you've made is useful for keeping junk out, but here's why it merits an exception. For one, it is mentioned with its significance in Theaetetus (dialogue). Secondly, Socrates's biography is appropriately concise right now, and forcing a mention of his nose into a scholarly article I feel would worsen its quality, obviously not the case with Barry Manilow for example. A paragraph about his overall ugliness and behaviour could perhaps be added, but it's not something I really want to work on right now. If there's any doubt about its notability, you could try a quick Google search. -Oreo Priest talk 20:52, 3 August 2008 (UTC) [05:41, 4 August 2008 (UTC) copy of another post]

This is a really poor addition. Socrates is not notable for his nose, and no source other than the WP article Theaetetus (dialogue) has been offered. WP articles are not acceptable sources for WP, and the re-insertion of this material without providing reliable sources is a violation of Wikipedia:Verifiability. I might add that the nose on the sculpture in the image provided does't look "stub" to me, but then that's OR. -- Donald Albury 22:29, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
This is just plain silly. The Wikipedia article on Theaetetus was to show you not only that I didn't make it up, but also that it's notable. If you want to read the original Theaetetus, just give it a Google search and choose from the hundreds of versions available. It's a primary source, so you can't really get any better than that. Alternatively, give his snub nose or his ugliness a Google search. -Oreo Priest talk 05:41, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Jewish Nose, hooked nose, hawk nose, jewish six[edit]

There's been an edit war going on over the subject of the Jewish Nose (which has several other descriptive names). It seems that some people object to it because it's a stereotype. Furthermore, the Jewish Nose is not a scientific theory it's a description of a nose type. It makes no prediction of all Jews having this nose type, anymore than I would expect all Greeks to have a nose type that we have called Greek. Therefore, being merely a name for a certain type of nose, you can't falsify it. You can only reference it, once it's referenced it can be included in Wikipedia, with the standard for inclusion being verifiability. There are many references for "Jewish Nose", and if you're honest with yourself you'll know very well what "Jewish Nose" refers to.

Guys, please just relax a little. Can't an actual Jew have a say in this? I'm a little alarmed at all the arguments going around. You don't have to kill each other over this, seriously. Jews are still offended because this nose is supposedly unattractive. It was used by Hitler in his drawings of a Jew with a huge, beaky, nose and an evil grin. He meant to portray Jews as ugly and weird. But the truth is, Jews don't have it any more than any other person. It's the common name, so I agree it belongs here, but the important thing is that it's just a name, and it doesn't carry any scorn or mockery in it nowadays like it originally did. I can't speak on behalf of all members of my religion, but there's a good part of us who think this whole racial thing is just getting out of hand. It's alright! We don't fly off the handle like that. The only Jews who would take real offense at "Jewish Nose" are, well, old, self-righteous people like my 80 year old grandparents. We don't exactly approve of the term, but it's no big deal. I once mentioned the term "Jewish Nose" in a conversation with my sister, who by the way has the nose in question, and we continued chatting normally, but she just added casually, on the side, "You shouldn't use that name. You're making fun of yourself." And I can see her point, but I also get the fact that it's not an insult to Jews anymore, even if it once was. I mean, I'm a Jew and my nose is straight and tiny, after all. So, no offense taken. Just calm down guys. I don't even have the patience to delete half the arguments going on above and below I just needed to intergect.

NOSE --GRuban (talk) 00:00, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

It's worth noting that the JAMA article specifically mentions that use of the term "Jewish Nose" is controversial.Taemyr (talk) 23:58, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

This discussion is absurd. It is an indisputable fact that the 'Jewish nose' is a racial slur borne out of millenia of anti-semitism. Citing medical texts does not confer validity - the Nazis had plenty of medical texts as well. People recognise the label precisely because of things like Nazi propaganda. It's simply a slur that needs to be eradicated (even from medical texts). Is homosexuality a curable medical disease? Are black people less intelligent? Highly outdated pseudo-scientific nonsense. It's really quite depressing that this kind of 1930's thinking is still around today. The crux of the counter argument seems to be that it's simply a term of reference, accurate or not. That is correct, but go back just fifty years and you'll find a host of terms of reference which are just not acceptable today. No, this is simply a remnant of anti-semitism that needs to be wiped out. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Er ... we document racial slurs too, we don't just wipe them out of history. That's what "the sum of all human knowledge" is all about. Not just "the nice, sanitized bits of human knowledge." We've got a whole Category:Ethnic and religious slurs, for example, that currently has 94 entries, many of which are far more offensive than just observing that some of us are ... blessed with a fine, prominent upper breathing apparatus. :-) Many of that category also date from the 1930's, if I'm not wrong. --GRuban (talk) 18:56, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

You need to focus on the fundamental fact: This is an article on the human nose that perpetuates a racial slur and even cites it as acceptable scientific taxonomy. You are completely correct that it should not be wiped from history, the key word being 'history'. The phrase shouldn't be anywhere near a scientific article. We are also in agreement that it should be found in the religious slurs category (not stated as biological fact). Do we agree that the reference needs to be removed from this specific article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Nope. If you like, you can change it to "formerly known as the Jewish nose" or something, the sources do support that the term is out of current usage. You can write a separate article about the term itself, its history, how derogatory it is considered, and put in a "main article" link pointing there, there clearly are enough sources about the term to make an article about it. But we shouldn't delete it entirely. --GRuban (talk) 13:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

1. It has only ever been known as such due to racist Nazi pseudo-science. 2. This does not belong in a scientific article. 3. Again, the contention is not to delete entirely, but to emphasise that it is not legitimate scientific taxonomy. I had a look at your wikipedia profile and hey, surprise surprise, you developed a computer game called ‘Hitler’s War’ – also the title of a book by David Irving (infamous Holocaust denier). So nothing to do with wikipedia’s accuracy, it’s just plain anti-semitism for you right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:42, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Er ... you're seriously accusing someone named Ruban of anti-semitism now? For what it's worth, besides the name, I happen to have one of the noses in question. And I'm quite proud of it, I think it's very good looking. :-)--GRuban (talk) 17:00, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

How convenient, but that is a digression. The article insinuates as scientific fact that all Jews have a ‘hook nose’. Besides, the term ‘hook nose’ followed by a diagram is sufficiently descriptive for a particular nose shape. What place does an outdated racial slur have here? Think of the context. I note that you cannot counter any of the points stretching back to my original contribution.

My two cents: the term is not exclusively racist, is in common use, and should stay. -Oreo Priest talk 02:46, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

How about the term 'nigger'? A description of someone with African ancestry, an accurate term of reference for someone with high levels of melanin in their skin. Being in "common use" does not make it acceptable. Please think carefully about the nature and purpose of this article.

Please point out a single reasonably current medical journal that uses the word nigger to describe a dark skin tone. Taemyr (talk) 18:45, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Refer back to my post of 22 September. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

My point is that "Jewish nose" is being used in modern medical journals. Those medical text is why we feel that the term is in use as a description of an anatomical feature today. The same does not hold for "nigger". The background of the term is by and large irrelevant, we might feel that the term should be deprecated, but Wikipedia is not the forum in which to make that decision. Taemyr (talk) 21:23, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm new to Wikipedia editing and created my account specifically because I was reading the Human Nose article and found the "Jewish Nose" entry offensive, stereotypical, unnecessary, not helpful. I didn't know there had been so much discussion behind it. My edit was then undone, and being a novice, I thought I had just not done it right, so I re-did the edit. Well, now I'm done. If the statement reappears I won't touch it. But still I find it a shocking statement. The idea that the term is in common use, or mentioned in some medical literature (I'm a medical professional and am disturbed to think that is true), is irrelevant to the offensive nature of the statement. The idea that such a nose shape describes Jews associates with a despicable history of characterization of this ethnic group (I think of Alec Guinness as Fagin in the film Oliver Twist) and should be expunged from Wikipedia, not justified.Birdersb (talk) 10:20, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
The term is well-documented. I've added to the article that the term is controversial. Oreo Priest talk 10:29, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Famous Noses[edit]

What qualifies a nose as "famous?" I am of the opinion that this section is superfluous, regardless of sourcing; we don't need it. C1k3 (talk) 08:17, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

We both know what "famous" means. I don't think the section is useless in principle, although it seems like it's got a fair amount of junk in it now. Should we trim it to the more notable ones, like MJ and Socrates, but not Vivaldi for example? Oreo Priest talk 16:00, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Removal of Unsourced Section[edit]

While Wikipedia can handle info in the encyclopedia for a while until sourced can be produced, that section had been marked unsourced since May of 2009. It's time for it to go, per WP:V and WP:OR. Of course, anyone who is willing to find sources can certainly re-add. The citation about "Jewish nose" was moved to the next section. Qwyrxian (talk) 10:42, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Fair enough. Oreo Priest talk 12:58, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Nose picture bias[edit]

While I am slightly alarmed at the preceding vociferous discussion of the relative offensiveness of Greek, Roman, Jewish, and African noses (reflecting with their nomenclature the centrality of the Mediterranean basin to Western cultures), I cannot help but notice that the two photographs chosen to illustrate and exemplify the human nose both belong to white males. Seriously? The 'unmarked', average representation of the nose just happens to be Belgian and French? Please editors, show a little diversity. Orbis 3 (talk) 04:25, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

This is a wiki, so you can change it if you think it needs changing instead of just complaining. I can't see a better one on Commons. [1]. Perhaps you would like to upload a better one and include it in the article? Oreo Priest talk 17:26, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

main picture[edit]

Could you please find a better picture that represents the human nose,please? That poor man has a crooked nose with hairs protruding through it.. the breast page has a much better representative..just sayin; — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, being "pretty" is not really a reason to choose or not choose something. But if you go to the Wikimedia Commons' Human Nose category, there are others to choose from. Many of them seem unsuitable, since their either don't focus on the nose, or they are specifically showing off diseases or other problems of the nose. I'd prefer to keep a profile picture as well. But are there any there that you think would be good here? Qwyrxian (talk) 03:27, 25 March 2013 (UTC)