Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Snarlers that don’t Snarl

Andrew John (no I didn’t reverse his names) responded to our Good Word snarl with this thought:

“In NZ the word snarler does not usually mean something that snarls. In my experience when Kiwis use the word snarler they mean a sausage, particularly when it is on a BBQ. Which makes me wonder if its use is derived from hot-dog?”

My response:

A snarler usually refers to a dog (or human) that snarls. Could the transfer of this sense of “dog” to “hotdog” be justified? Or is it more likely that, because they tend to curl when heated, they seem to become entangled?

There is also another sense of snarl used in metal-working. A snarling-iron is used to “raise up the projecting part”. Whether this is used for curling or not, I don’t know. (I’m not metal worker.)

Does anyone out there know what a “snarling-iron” does?

4 Responses to “Snarlers that don’t Snarl”

  1. bnjtokyo Says:

    Here is a link to a picture of a snarling iron and a description of its use. It seems to me, one would need something to anchor the work piece to maximize the effectiveness of the tool.

  2. bnjtokyo Says:

    According to the Godzone Dictionary:Of Favourite New Zealand Words and Phrases by Max Cryer, “In New Zealand sausages are also known as snags (from the Lancashire word “snackles”, meaning small morsels of food), snarlers (from the military, where some thought the noise of frying sausages sounded like dogs snarling) and bangers (also military on the same lines).”

  3. Krishna Pillai Says:

    “Snarl” in its meaning of “entangled” was a word we often used in metal working and in machine shops to refer to long ribbons or strips of metal (for example from a lathe or a milling machine).
    “The swarf was all snarled up” or “Careful you don’t get it snarled up”.
    I have also heard it used for traffic congestion and referring to knitting wool and even when using crepe paper for party decorations (which probably reveals my age). But I note that in such usage long “strings” of something always seemed to be “snarled up” and not just “snarled”.

  4. bnjtokyo Says:

    A sausage maker I contacted in New Zealand thinks that “snarler” meaning sausages goes back to the 20’s or 30’s. He speculates that the hissing and spitting of fat was seen as snarling which led to sausages being called “snarlers,” supporting the explanation by Max Cryer, above.

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