13

Nose-picking is a common and well known socially condemmed habit.

However, this condemnation seems to be a purely social behavior with very little grounds on medical risks; it is even done by other species, see below.

  1. can we set a time of when it started? (10.000 BC, 0 AC, 1000 AC?)
  2. What are the first documentations of nose-picking?
  3. Did this behavior appeared independently in different cultures or was developed by one and then "imitated" by others?

Nose picking

(photo from wikipedia)

  • My question is not about when it started, but when it started to be condemned as a social behavior. Since animals also do it, it is fair to assume it started prior to Human existence. – Jorge Leitao Mar 24 '14 at 14:26
  • 1
    Noel Coward in his letters occasionally refers to himself as "a nose-picker like anyone else", or words to that effect, to downplay the significance of his celebrity. By that gauge the change would have occurred in the past century or so. – Pieter Geerkens Mar 24 '14 at 21:29
12

It certainly was condemned in the late Middle Ages. The Oxford English Dictionary has this delightful quotation, dated to circa 1450:

"Pike not þi nose; & moost in especial..to-fore þi souereyn cratche ne picke þee nouȝt."

In other words, "Don't pick your nose, and especially, don't scratch or pick in the presence of your sovereign."

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