Definition of nasal index in English:

nasal index

Pronunciation /ˌneɪzl ˈɪndɛks/


  • 1Anthropology
    An indicator of nose size and shape obtained by multiplying the ratio of nose breadth to height by 100.

    The points of measurement, and resulting indices, vary depending on whether they are taken from the head or cranium. The nasal index was formerly used to ascertain a subject's position in a supposed racial or caste hierarchy. It is still used in physical anthropology.

  • 2Medicine
    A measure of nasal discomfort or affliction in an illness or allergy, calculated by adding scores representing nasal stuffiness, nasal discharge, and sneezing.


Late 19th century; earliest use found in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. From nasal + index, after French indice nasal.