• snore •
Pronunciation: snor • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To emit long snorting noises, caused by vibrations of the soft palate, in your sleep.
Notes: The older you get, the more likely you will be accosted by snoring. Some people wake themselves up snoring. Today's Good Word is as English as words come, as its family demonstrates. The adjective and noun accompanying this word is snoring, and the personal noun is snorer.
In Play: Children are often frightened by snoring until they become accustomed to it: "Don't be afraid, children. That's not thunder; it's only Grandma snoring." Of course, more and more grandparents are finding various devices that prevent snoring: "Grandpa used to snore and keep everyone awake at night until he got his desnorolator."
Word History: In Old English today's Good Word was fnora "to sneeze". Old English fnora is based on the PIE root pneu- "to breathe". The sound [p] normally became [f] in all Germanic languages. Before N, F became S in many Old English words; sneeze came from fneosan. English never did like consonants other than S before N. The loss of the K in the initial KN is another example of the consonantal cluster cleanup. Pneu emerged in Greek as pneo "I blow", a word that underlies several borrowed English words, such as pneumonia and pneumatic. Snore is related to snort, in fact, the two words meant the same thing back in the 14th century. Back then there was even a third variant, snork, which meant "to snore". (We owe Gloria Billings for the insight that brought this Good Word to her attention and, we hope, no one reading this is now snoring.)