mid-13c., "bird's bill," from Old French bec "beak," figuratively "mouth," also "tip or point of a nose, a lance, a ship, a shoe," from Late Latin beccus (source also of Italian becco, Spanish pico), by the Romans said to be of Gaulish origin, perhaps from Gaulish beccus, possibly related to Celtic stem *bacc- "hook." Or there may be a link in Old English becca "pickax, sharp end." Modern jocular sense of "human nose" is from 1854 (the word was used mid-15c. in the same sense).
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