Origin of idiom: no skin off my nose

Where does the saying “no skin off my nose” originate?

Origin of idiom: no skin off my nose

We’ve probably all been guilty of the throw away line “no skin off my nose” and while we understand what it means, does anybody really know where it originated?

‘No skin off my nose’, just in case you're not sure, means that you can simply go ahead and do what you want as it will make no difference to the other person. It's said to have originated from boxing but we think that this suggestion is much more macabre!

It’s believed that in 16th century England, much to the disdain and annoyance of the King, an unsavoury cult existed. Hell-bent on destroying them, the King sent his men onto the streets to try and dismantle the gatherings.  

The cult’s response was to be more covert about their activities, and wherever they met, there was a small hole made in the door. To mark that they were followers of the cult, worshipers would draw a small mole on the side of their nose and would have to push their noses through the aforementioned hole in order to enter. If no mole was visible – say, if it belonged to a King’s guard – then a slice of skin would be taken off with a sharp implement. Nasty!

Do you know of another origin of this saying?

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    COMMENTS

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    disillusioned
    26th Aug 2016
    10:48am
    You could only hope that the person before you didn't have a streaming head-cold!


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