This expression for an overly inquisitive and prying person is first recorded in the late 19th century, which puts Matthew Parker, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1559 to 1575, out of contention, although he is often put forward as the original Nosey Parker. Was the original Nosey Parker a real person? The truth is nobody knows. The ‘nosey’ part is easy. The word nosey meaning inquisitive has been around since the early 17th century; it is the ‘parker’ bit where the mystery lies. Some etymologists like Eric Partridge have made a case for parker as in park keeper. Do park keepers have a reputation for being nosey? They certainly like to keep an eye open and know what is going on, so it is quite possible. Brewer’s maintains it could be a corruption of nose-poker, again very plausible. If it did originate from nose-poker, one would expect to come across numerous instances of such a phrase but there is none. Sadly, the exact origin of nosey parker remains unknown.