Printable Version
Pronunciation: snul Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: An extreme toady, a willing kow-tower, a 'yes man', a coward, a milquetoast, a drudge; a servile person who submits tamely to oppression.

Notes: This word holds no spelling or pronunciation traps. It is a lexical orphan without a derivational family. It may be used as a verb: to snool is more natural to English than the Chinese word kow-tow. It is a useful substitute for all those horrible phrases, such as to brown-nose and to suck up to, which have unpleasant associations.

In Play: Because of its alliteration with words like snot, snivel, and snoot, this word is an ear-catching substitute for words like sycophant and sniveler: "Oh, I would say that Ben Dover is more than just a yes-man; I would say that he is more a sniveling driveling snool, who enjoys the boss's abasement day in and day out." His sister, Eileen, is just as bad; she snools through life with bovine equanimity.

Word History: This funny word, like much English lexical humor, comes from Scotland and the northern English dialects. It is a dialectal variant of snivel as drool is a variant of drivel. Snivel is from Old English snofl "mucus", probably borrowed from Danish snøvle "to sniffle"; indeed, sniffle is a close relative. Both these words are related to snuff "to draw up the nostrils", of which only the noun snuff remains in active use, aside from the usage of the verb in the criminal argot meaning "to murder".

Dr. Goodword,

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