What is the idiomatic way to describe an action by which a person puts their eyeglasses back if they are a bit off down the nose (and does that often as a habitual unconscious move)?

(I mean something along the lines of Russian "поправлять очки", if that helps).

  • 1
    Google translates поправлять очки as "correct points". Is that really the literal translation?
    – Andrew Leach
    Oct 23, 2015 at 20:30
  • @AndrewLeach it is a correct translation of a completely different meaning ("adjusting points"). "Очки" may stand for "points", indeed, just as "glass" is a few different things. Oct 23, 2015 at 20:35
  • @EarlGray, correct me if I'm wrong, but очки also means glasses, so the phrase implies someone who is constantly fixing his glasses.
    – user109263
    Oct 23, 2015 at 20:37
  • 1
    "fixing someone's glasses" - is this wording good? If so, it answers my question. Oct 23, 2015 at 20:40
  • @EarlGray No. I would assume "fixing someone's glasses" means repairing them, in certain contexts.
    – James
    Oct 23, 2015 at 20:59

6 Answers 6


It's called pushing your glasses up or pushing your glasses back:

Instead of constantly pushing your glasses back onto your face like a stereotypical 90s movie nerd, weblog Tested recommends wrapping the ends in a bit of heat shrink to keep them from slipping.


I think adjusting your glasses typically refers to a situation when the glasses slide down, and you need to, for example, adjust the plastic frames in hot water to make them work again.

  • Yes, I had the impression that "adjusting your glasses" is too heavyweight to describe the situation. Oct 23, 2015 at 20:57
  • 1
    "He adjusted his glasses" is possible (just like "He adjusted his tie"), and in a certain context would convey the same idea. But a sentence like "My glasses keep sliding off and I need to constantly adjust them" is sort of ambiguous. Googling and personal experience suggests most people would take it to mean you need to mechanically adjust the glasses' ends. Pushing up is clear and unambiguous.
    – A.P.
    Oct 23, 2015 at 21:06
  • No problem, vsegda pozhaluysta :)
    – A.P.
    Oct 23, 2015 at 21:16
  • If it was trousers which were falling down, one would say he hitched up his trousers. But as glasses are worn higher up the body, hitch doesn't unfortunately work.
    – WS2
    Oct 23, 2015 at 22:10

There's a fair amount of fiction that uses the phrase

he pushed his glasses up his nose


Perhaps fidgeting? Or compulsively fidgeting?

As in, "The old man was sweating profusely in the room. He did not want to be there. He fidgeted with his glasses as they slid down his nose, but for some reason he gave the impression that even if they weren't slipping off his face, he wouldn't have been able to leave them alone."

  • 1
    It's rather close, but "поправлять" is neither nervous nor emotional, it is a habitual unconscious move. Oct 23, 2015 at 20:33
  • 1
    Thanks for "fidgeting", by the way, I did not know this word. Oct 23, 2015 at 20:41

If you ever have a need for something shorter than the accepted phrase, I call what I do unconsciously with/to my glasses throughout the day as “straightening” them :

“I probably [unconsciously] straighten my glasses at least every fifteen minutes” (usually just before lighting a cigarette).

To the extent that “straightening” would still seem too much like you’re talking about a visit to the local optician, maybe “reposition/ed” would be less ambiguous:

“She unconsciously repositions her glasses constantly throughout the day whether they need it or not.”

(examples of usages other than the ones concocted by me above are found at the above links: ‘Rafe Palladin: Man Of Secrets’ for “straightened” and ‘Definition Murder: A Meg Mccafferty Mystery’ for “repositioned”; both via Google books)

Reposition … verb [with object] 1Place in a different position; adjust or alter the position of: ‘try repositioning the thermostat in another room’

Straighten … verb 1Make or become straight: [with object]: she helped him straighten his tie

(definitions from Oxford Dictionaries)


Perhaps there isn't a direct translation, I think I would say 'he was habitually adjusting his glasses'


Consider, shoving one's glasses back up one's nose.

shove: to push quickly, forcefully, or roughly: shoved the chair against the wall American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

The woman stood there one arm braced on her hip, and the old man kept shoving his glasses back up his nose. The Birds in Langfoot's Belfry

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