to spite » despite

Chiefly in:   cut off one's nose despite one's face

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • They benefit far more than we do on the trade relationship, so it is hard to see that China would cut off its nose despite its face by breaking off relations or curtailing trade simply because they disagreed with our commitment to Taiwan. (Voice of America transcript, Mar. 23, 2000)
  • Wilkinson, of course, got this pride hurt and balked. Now he’ll be lucky if he gets roughly $1.5 million this season, probably from Detroit, deftly cutting off his nose despite his face. (Sports Illustrated, Aug. 17, 2003)
  • This leads me to believe the City of Toledo is a fan of cutting off its nose despite its face. (University of Toledo Independent Collegian, Feb. 14, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/11 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by triticale , 2005/07/16 at 6:16 am

    It certainly makes more sense than the opposite, which would be cutting of one’s nose because of one’s face.

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