Printable Version
Pronunciation: snahg Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: To hug and kiss romantically, i.e. to bill (1890s), to bill and coo (1910s), to spoon (1920s), to make whoopee, to smooch (1930s), to pet (1940s), to neck (1950s), to make out (1960-1970s), to suck face (1980-1990s).

Notes: In our definition today we listed all the US terms for hugging and kissing over the past century in (probable) chronological order: they reflect a rampant decline in sensitivity and wit as the age of practitioners dropped. Today's good British term, however, begs this service in the 21st century. Although the usual noun from this verb is snogging, how can we ignore snoggery? It is standing out there right beside snobbery—you can't miss it. And 'a snoggy embrace' is self-evident, isn't it? We can even say, "They embraced snoggily in front of everyone." This Good Word has every form we need.

In Play: I can just hear how English-speakers around the world would replace Lover's Lane with this new possibility: "Mulholland Drive is a lonely street at night, better known as Snoggers Alley to teenagers who stop there for a bit of snoggery before going home." At least we can all move away from the horrid US expression, sucking face: "Blanche Dwight almost fainted when she saw her daughter on the front porch, snogging in the arms of their next-door neighbor's son, Dewey Trite."

Word History: Let us hope that today's word is not onomatopoetic. We would prefer thinking that the noises that emerge during snoggery are universally romantic ones. However, no one really knows where this exceptionally Good Word came from except, of course, it had to pass through Scotland on its way to London. It may have arisen as a Scottish pronunciation of snug (whence snuggle), since the Scots and northern Englishmen have an expression, snod and snog, which means "snug and smooth". But who knows?

Dr. Goodword,

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