I am reading the book The Story of Philosophy and came to this sentence describing Socrates' nose as "a broad and flowery", I have no idea what a flowery nose looks like, I know Socrates looks not very pleasing though. The book made that quite clear.

Thank you very much.

Below is the complete sentences: If we may judge from the bust that has come down to us as part of the ruins of ancient sculpture, Socrates was as far from being handsome as even a philosopher can be. A bald head, a great round face, deep-set staring eyes, a broad and flowery nose that gave vivid testimony to many a Symposium—it was rather the head of a porter than that of the most famous of philosophers.

  • Could you post the entire sentence or the entire paragraph? It sounds very strange to this US English speaker, but maybe more context would help.
    – stangdon
    Apr 20, 2017 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


I'm wondering if there might be something lost in the translation. There is a condition known as Cauliflower nose (medical term rhinophyma), in which the nose becomes large, red, and bumpy (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinophyma). That would be consistent with your description.

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picture from the cited article

  • I guess this is the type of nose the author is trying to describe. Thank you very much for the help.
    – FulinS
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:50
  • @FulinS Saying thank you is nice and polite on your part, but saying thank you is not required on the Stack Exchange network. Instead you show your appreciation by upvoting an answer you like and eventually by accepting it if you are the asker. Maybe you could consider visiting the Help Centre and in particular: What should I do when someone answers my question?.
    – None
    Aug 9, 2017 at 9:44

While it's a bit of a stretch describing a nose, flowery can roughly mean fancy or ornate in some contexts. See thesaurus.com. Please note that if this means literally flowery - like, his nose looks like flowers or has flowers on it - I am wrong. More context would be extremely helpful.

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