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Nosy Parker

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  • To be a nosy parker is to look into other people’s business when you don’t need to, to be a busybody, or a snoop. It is mainly used outside of the United States, so much so that it has a variant spelling inside the US, nosey Parker. It does not need to be hyphenated unless used as an adjective.

     

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    The origin of the idiom is unknown, though some ascribe it to a postcard which referred to a peeping tom in Hyde Park. Parkers were park-keepers, but there is little evidence that the idiom was directly related to someone who worked for the park and spied on people.

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    Examples

    I might like to know what’s going on… it’s my profession to be a nosy parker don’t you know… but when I do get told a story, I want everything, chapter and verse as there’s nothing worse than a half-baked tale. [Lancashire Evening Post]

    Through the eyes of these women we see the thread of the story, a woman named Bettie Shelton. Bettie is a nosy parker, pesky, annoying-sort-of-neighbor who happens to be the founder of the Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. [USA Today]

    Hers is one of the houses open to nosey parkers for the Barfoot & Thompson Home and Garden Tour to raise money for the Starship Foundation. So, being a nosey parker, I wanted to go and have an advance look – at the house and the garden, and at her, because she has a formidable reputation. [The New Zealand Herald]

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