Printable Version
Pronunciation: snêb Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, adjective

Meaning: 1. (Verb) To rebuff, arrogantly ignore, reject outright, refuse to acknowledge. 2. (Verb) To limit movement by tying to an object, as 'to snub a horse to a tree'. 3, (Adjective) Short and turned up at the end, usually referring to noses, as 'a snub nose'.

Notes: This verb may be used as a countable noun referring to an instance of snubbing, as 'to suffer a snub from the president'. There is an adjective, snubby, meaning 'short and stumpy', with its noun, snubbiness. Another adjective, snubbish, means either 'slightly snub' or 'tending to snub (people)'. Snubber and snubbee have been tried; the former had a much greater impact on the English vocabulary.

In Play: Snubbing objects does not imply arrogance: "Rolanda snubs fashion trends and wears what she pleases." It may imply anger, though: "Llewellyn voted for the opposition party because he felt the incumbent party had snubbed his state long enough." It does imply arrogance when people are snubbed: " When Richfield got his promotion, he snubbed all his competitors who didn't get the position."

Word History: Today's Good Word is related to snip "to cut off with a short, small action." Snip connects with snub by way of snib "to rebuke, check sharply", a kind of figurative cut. This word now is a dialectal term in northern England and Scotland, but was active in the general vocabulary until the 19th century. We do find Swedish snubba "scold" and Danish snubbe "rebuke", which might be related. Snip probably was borrowed from Dutch snippen "to snip, shred", which is assumed to be onomatopoeic, of imitative origin. The trail of snip's origin ends here. (We owe gratitude now to a newcomer, Susan White, for sharing today's short but Good Word with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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