Nothing to Sneeze At

This saying, which has been around since the early 1800s, may come from the idea that someone might turn up his or her nose at something unimportant or unworthy. When you say something is "nothing to sneeze at," you're saying it's actually important. For example, coming in second place in the science fair is nothing to sneeze at. Even though you didn't come in first, second place is still an important accomplishment. 

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: March 2010

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