Nosy Neighbor
Abner! Come quick!
A neighbor (usually female) who just cannot keep to herself. Usually a grotesquely stereotyped shrewish gossip — always on the lookout for delicious secrets and rumors about the characters, which is emphasized by showing her peering suspiciously around her curtains at least once an episode.

They usually come in two types. The female type (though not always female) is the epitome of niceness, which serves as an excuse for her chronic curiosity - she will show up on the characters' doorstep with a fresh baked pie while peering inside over their shoulder. Sometimes the only problem with her is that she always shows up at the wrong time - Nosy Neighbors have a tendency to appear and initiate a long chat when there is something in the other room needing the character's attention that they would rather not let others know about.

The second type is closer to the Cranky Neighbor, and generally just wants to be left alone - until the main characters start acting suspiciously and he feels that he needs to protect his interests and verify that they are not doing anything that may disturb their peace. This usually ends with them going further and getting more involved than intended.

Occasionally a horror trope, when this starts to border serious stalking.

See also Secret Chaser for when there is some huge secret to be kept hidden from this neighbor. If it's not an impromptu pie delivery she's using as her tactic, it she may pop over to ask "May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?".


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    Comic Strips 
  • Pretty much Mary Worth's whole schtick. The Comics Curmudgeon takes it to memetic levels; the whole world is her neighbor, and only her meddling can save it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Madeline "Matty" Crimmins from Stepfather II, a gossip and mail courier who digs through her neighbor's mail as a hobby. She winds up strangled to death by the killer.
  • Minnie and Roman in Rosemary's Baby inserted themselves into the lives of their much younger neighbors, Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse, much to Rosemary's annoyance.
  • In Earth Girls Are Easy, Geena Davis's elderly neighbor uses a parabolic microphone to listen in.
  • Miss Thwaites in Gaslight is a very intrusive old lady from across the street.
  • Claire becomes this in What Lies Beneath, due to her genuine concern that the husband across the street has murdered his wife — she heard the woman crying and her vague explanations alluded to an abusive relationship, including outright saying, "I'm afraid that one day I'll just disappear", not seeing the wife for several days, as well as the husband's own vagueness about her absence. It turns out to be a Red Herring.
  • The Nearys in Close Encounters of the Third Kind have a nosy neighbor living next door to their house, always watching them from her window.

  • Much of Brian Aldiss's novel Report on Probability A is taken up with exhaustive descriptions of three men spying on a house from three of its outbuildings, attempting to catch a glimpse of the elusive Mr Mary's Wife through the windows.
  • Petunia Dursley of Harry Potter is noted several times to be far too interested in her neighbours' doings.
  • As far as Stephanie Crawford from To Kill a Mockingbird is concerned, she absolutely must know everything. She is a Gossipy Hen too.
  • Mrs. Cormaci from The Underland Chronicles is a well-intentioned and not especially annoying version, but any questions are awkward when you don't know have a good explanation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The next-door neighbors in Small Wonder were highly obnoxious versions of this trope, their casual antics often more memorable than any of the main plots, even ones where they were involved. But they unintentionally gave the syndie show a near Crowning Moment of Awesome when the Dad/Inventor finally up and decided to use the android girl VICI as part of a plot to force these neighbors to move away, once and for all. It didn't work, but it made so much sense to try.
  • Three's Company had Mr. Roeper and, later, Mr. Furley, both of who were created as old curmudgeons who would walk in at the wrong moment and be scandalized.
  • Nearly every character on Desperate Housewives is a nosy neighbor in one way or another, but Martha Huber of Season 1 fits the description best.

    Video Games 
  • This is a character type in We Happy Few. They're designed to make life more difficult for any Downers who like to employ stealth.

    Western Animation 
  • Superman: The Animated Series: A 50-year-old wife is watching Superman and Maxima fight at a construction site. Her husband, newspaper blocking his view, tells her to stop spying on the neighbors.
    Wife: Now they're kissing!
    Husband: Don't get any ideas!
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: Barb always bursts into the house unannounced, and when she suspects that the Lunis' have a new pet, she's desperate to find out what it is.
  • SpongeBob and Patrick of Spongebob Squarepants are the first type. They're nice, generous, friendly fellows and all they want to do is include Squidward in their friendship and fun — but Sponge and Pat are obnoxious and foolish, lack tact, and don't adhere to boundaries. At best, SpongeBob and Patrick are nice guys and Squidward likes them — at worse, they're extremely annoying, and Squidward is frustrated by them.
  • Helen Lovejoy on The Simpsons is rather nosy about the lives of other Springfield families.

Alternative Title(s): Nosy Neighbour