I heard AP Radio News reporting Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich won the endorsement of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, which can reset the going of presidential race. The news was aired via AFN Tokyo at 7:00 am (Tokyo time), Monday.

I think I heard:

“Republican presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich wins the endorsement of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, which passed over front runner, Mitt Romney for the nod. The New Hampshire Union Leader’s editorial potentially resets the race in the state with its first-in-the nation primary.”

What does “pass over somebody for the nod - the newspaper passed over Mitt Romney for the nod” mean? Is this popular phrase?

4 Answers 4


A number of references say that to give the nod is to give permission for something to happen. This comes from the fact that a nod of the head is a gesture of approval.

In a sense, that applies in this case. However, a nod of the head (toward something) is also a gesture of indication, similar to pointing at something. A person may indicate their choice between two or more options by nodding at the one they choose.

To pass over someone or something is

  1. to skip over someone or something; to fail to select someone or something

The Union Leader has given the nod to Newt Gingrich, meaning they have chosen him as the candidate they will endorse for the Republican presidential nomination. In doing so, they passed over Mitt Romney, even though he had been the front runner.

  • 2
    "Getting the nod" is also a colloquial term for being offered a job position.
    – Polynomial
    Dec 1, 2011 at 11:09

I don't believe that "pass over somebody for the nod" is the phrase.

Here "pass over somebody" is a phrase, meaning they ignored him, and "for the nod" means giving him an affirmative vote.

"which passed over front runner, Mitt Romney for the nod" = "they ignored the front runner Mitt Romney when giving their support (nod)"


Two separate phrases, here:

To "pass over" is to choose not to select, especially said of an option that seemed more likely, obvious, or just offered first. ("My niece passed over the chocolate cake in favor of an orange.")

To "give the nod" is to signal permission or, especially in elections or selection of people for roles, endorsement or the selection itself. ("The coach gave the nod, and Coleman stole second." "here were many theories about who would be Secretary of State, but Obama gave Clinton the nod.")

In this case, the Union Leader "gave the nod" to Gingrich -- endorsed him, supported him, suggested people should vote for him -- "passing over" Mitt Romney (who was the front-runner, i.e., the person with the most general support up to that time).


To "pass over somebody" usually refers to a promotion. That is, the "obvious candidate" or "front runner" doesn't get the promotion, which instead, goes to a lesser known person.

In this case, New Hampshire's largest paper doesn't exactly "promote" people to candidacy status (the voters do). But it can influence votes by giving candidates support (or not), otherwise referred to as a "nod." In this case, the paper (the most conservative in the U.S.) did NOT give its support to the front runner, Mitt Romney, but rather to its "favorite son," the conservative Newt Gingrich.

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