Did you know a ‘nosy parker’, sometimes spelled ‘nosey parker’, is a person of an excessively inquisitive or meddling nature? The word began to be used to mean ‘inquisitive’ from around the start of the 19th century.
The person most often associated with the phrase ‘nosy parker’ is Matthew Parker, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1559 to 1575. In a methodical attempt to obtain a detailed account of the qualifications and activities of the clergy he ordered several unpopular inquiries. The good archbishop’s impressively prominent nose, might be thought more than enough for his peers to have nicknamed him ‘nosy Parker’. The problem with this story is that his peers did no such thing.
In the 17th century, ‘nosey’ was just a name for someone with a large nose, although Archbishop Parker appears to have avoided that fate.
The popular Victorian novelist Mary Elizabeth Braddon edited the Belgravia Magazine and ‘nosey parker’ appeared there in the May 1890 edition, which seems to be the first example of the phrase’s use in print.
However, there has been some speculation – by the lexicographer Eric Partridge and others – that before ‘nosy parker’ was coined, a ‘parker’ was simply a park-keeper. The opportunities for park-keepers to spy on courting couples were no doubt sufficient enough to be the source of the term ‘nosey parker’.
Did you know there is a vintage reggae tune name “Nosey Parker” sung by Jamaican reggae vocal trio, whose main period of success was in the 1960s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkCR-p43vXA