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What is the meaning of "cut off one's nose to spite one’s face"?

By Antony, Canada(16th Dec. 2006).

This is one of those expressions that have been around for quite some time. If you wanted to get even with someone, or hurt the feelings of that person, would you do it by cutting off your nose? Would that be a sensible thing to do? It wouldn't, would it? That's what the expression `cut off one's nose to spite one's face' means. It means harming oneself, perhaps much more than the person one is trying to hurt.

Here are a few examples.

* Harish loves to play tennis, but he refused to play with Suresh because he doesn't like him. He was cutting off his nose to spite his face.

* Daya cut off her nose to spite her face when she refused to come to the industrial exhibition with us.

* Tarun was the best salesman that the company had, but his boss hated him. So she fired him. It was bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

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