The etymology of “pay through the nose”

Posted By on November 1, 2015

I don't recall why I used the phrase “pay through the nose” this past week, but this sounds about right …

Instead of fighting the invaders, some English kings preferred to pay the Vikings to leave them in peace. These payments were called 'Danegeld' (meaning 'Dane debt' or Dane payment). The Vikings collected tribute in other countries too. In Ireland in the 9th century they imposed a tax and slit the noses of anyone unwilling or unable to pay, and that is the origin of the English phrase 'to pay through the nose' meaning to pay an excessive price.
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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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