snatch (v.) Look up snatch at
early 13c., "make a sudden snap or bite" (at something), of uncertain origin; perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *snæccan or Middle Dutch snacken "to snatch, chatter." Compare snack (n.). Meaning "lay hold of suddenly" is from early 14c.; especially "take from someone's hands" (1580s). Weight-lifting sense is attested from 1928. Related: Snatched; snatching.
snatcher (n.) Look up snatcher at
1570s, agent noun from snatch (v.).
snazzy (adj.) Look up snazzy at
"stylish, flashy," 1932, U.S. colloquial, perhaps a blend of snappy and jazzy.
SNCC Look up SNCC at
1960, initialism (acronym) from Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which was organized in 1960.
SNCF Look up SNCF at
French national railway, 1949, initialism (acronym) for Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer.
sneak (n.) Look up sneak at
"a sneaking person; mean, contemptible fellow," 1640s, from sneak (v.).
sneak (v.) Look up sneak at
1550s (implied in sneakish), perhaps from some dialectal survival of Middle English sniken "to creep, crawl" (c. 1200), related to Old English snican "to sneak along, creep, crawl," from Proto-Germanic *sneikanan, which is related to the root of snake (n.). Of feelings, suspicions, etc., from 1748. Transitive sense, "to partake of surreptitiously" is from 1883. Related: Sneaking. Sneak-thief first recorded 1859; sneak-preview is from 1938.
sneaker (n.) Look up sneaker at
1590s, "one who sneaks," agent noun from sneak (v.). Meaning "rubber-soled shoe" is attested from 1895, American English; earlier sneak (1862), so called because the shoe was noiseless. See also plimsoll; another early name for them was tackies (1902), from tacky (adj.1).
The night-officer is generally accustomed to wear a species of India-rubber shoes or goloshes on her feet. These are termed 'sneaks' by the women [of Brixton Prison]. ["Female Life in Prison," 1862]
Related: Sneakers.
sneaky (adj.) Look up sneaky at
1833, from sneak (v.) + -y (2). Related: Sneakily; sneakiness. Sneaky Pete "cheap liquor" is from 1949.
sneer (n.) Look up sneer at
1707, from sneer (v.).
sneer (v.) Look up sneer at
1550s, "to snort" (of horses), perhaps from North Frisian sneere "to scorn," related to Old English fnæran "to snort, gnash one's teeth," of imitative origin (compare Danish snærre "to grin like a dog," Middle Dutch, Middle High German snarren "to rattle"). Meaning "to smile contemptuously" is from 1670s; sense of "to curl the upper lip in scorn" is attested from 1775. Related: Sneered; sneering. Sneer word is in E. Digby Baltzell (1987).
sneeze (n.) Look up sneeze at
"act of sneezing," 1640s, from sneeze (v.).
sneeze (v.) Look up sneeze at
late 15c., from Old English fneosan "to snort, sneeze," from Proto-Germanic *fneusanan (compare: Middle Dutch fniesen, Dutch fniezen "to sneeze;" Old Norse fnysa "to snort;" Old Norse hnjosa, Swedish nysa "to sneeze;" Old High German niosan, German niesen "to sneeze"), from Proto-Germanic base *fneu-s- "sneeze," of imitative origin, as is PIE *pneu- "to breathe" (source of Greek pnein "to breathe").

Other imitative words for it, perhaps in various ways related to each other, include Latin sternuere (source of Italian starnutare, French éternuer, Spanish estornudar), Breton strevia, Sanskrit ksu-, Lithuanian čiaudeti, Polish kichać, Russian čichat'.

English forms in sn- might be due to a misreading of the uncommon fn- (represented in only eight words in Clark Hall, mostly in words to do with breathing), or from Norse influence. OED suggests Middle English fnese had been reduced to simple nese by early 15c., and sneeze is a "strengthened form" of this, "assisted by its phonetic appropriateness." Related: Sneezed; sneezing. To sneeze at "to regard as of little value" (usually with negative) is attested from 1806.
sneezy (adj.) Look up sneezy at
1800, from sneeze (n.) + -y (2).
snell (adj.) Look up snell at
Old English snel "quick, active," cognate with Old Saxon, Dutch, Old High German snel, German schnell "swift, quick," Old Danish snel "swift, fleet," Old Norse snjallr "eloquent, able, bold." It survived as a surname and in Scottish and northern English; used by Burns and Scott. Italian snello is from Germanic.
snick (n.) Look up snick at
1962, American English, from common pronunciation of SNCC, initialism (acronym) for "Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee," black civil rights organization.
snick (v.) Look up snick at
"cut, clip, snip," c. 1700, back-formation from snickersnee.
snicker (v.) Look up snicker at
"laugh in a half-suppressed way," 1690s, possibly of imitative origin, similar to Dutch snikken "to gasp, sob." Related: Snickered; snickering.
snicker (n.) Look up snicker at
"a smothered laugh," 1835, from snicker (v.).
snickersnee (n.) Look up snickersnee at
1690s, originally "fight with knives," from snick-or-snee (1610s), from Dutch steken "to thrust, stick" + snijden "to cut" (compare German schneiden; see schnitzel).
snide (adj.) Look up snide at
1859, thieves' slang, "counterfeit, sham, bad, spurious," of unknown origin. Of persons, "cunning, sharp," from 1883. Sense of "sneering" is first attested 1933, perhaps via sense of "hypocrisy, malicious gossip" (1902). Related: Sneeringly.
sniff (v.) Look up sniff at
mid-14c., of imitative origin; possibly related to snyvelen (see snivel). As an expression of scorn or contempt from 1729. As a synonym for smell (v.) it dates from 1845. In reference to cocaine from 1925. Related: Sniffed; sniffing.
sniff (n.) Look up sniff at
1767, from sniff (v.); the scornful sense is from 1859.
sniffer (n.) Look up sniffer at
"the nose," 1858, agent noun from sniff (v.).
sniffle (v.) Look up sniffle at
1819, frequentative form of sniff (v.). Related: Sniffled; sniffling. The sniffles "runny nose, head cold" is recorded from 1825. Sniffly (1897) tends to refer to physical symptoms, while sniffy (1858) means "scornful, disdainful and disagreeable." Snuffy "annoyed" is from 1670s.
snifter (n.) Look up snifter at
1844, "a drink of liquor," earlier "a sniff," from a Scottish and northern English survival of an obsolete verb snift meaning "to sniff, snivel" (mid-14c.), of imitative origin (compare sniff (v.)). Meaning "large bulbous stemmed glass for drinking brandy" is from 1937. The association of "drinking liquor" with words for "inhaling, snuffling" (such as snort (n.), snootful) is perhaps borrowed from snuff-taking and the nasal reaction to it.
snigger (v.) Look up snigger at
1706, variant form of snicker (v.). Related: Sniggered; sniggering. As a noun from 1823.
sniggler (n.) Look up sniggler at
1840, in reference to fishing (especially for eels), agent noun from sniggle (v.), which is attested in a sense related to this from 1670s. It is the verbal suffix -le + snig "an eel" (late 15c.), a word of obscure origin but perhaps related to snake (n.) and sneak (v.).
snip (v.) Look up snip at
"to cut at one light, quick stroke," 1580s, from snip (n.). Related: Snipped; snipping.
snip (n.) Look up snip at
1550s, "small piece of cut-out cloth," probably from Dutch or Low German snippen "to snip, shred," of imitative origin. Meaning "cut made by scissors" is from 1590s. As a nickname or cant word for a tailor, 1590s. Snip-snap-snorum, the card game, is 1755, from Low German.
snipe (v.) Look up snipe at
"shoot from a hidden place," 1773 (among British soldiers in India), in reference to hunting snipe as game, from snipe (n.). Figurative use from 1892. Related: Sniped; sniping.
snipe (n.) Look up snipe at
long-billed marsh bird, early 14c., from Old Norse -snipa in myrisnipa "moor snipe;" perhaps a common Germanic term (compare Old Saxon sneppa, Middle Dutch snippe, Dutch snip, Old High German snepfa, German Schnepfe "snipe," Swedish snäppa "sandpiper"), perhaps originally "snipper." The Old English name was snite, which is of uncertain derivation. An opprobrious term (see guttersnipe) since c. 1600.
sniper (n.) Look up sniper at
"sharpshooter; one who shoots from a hidden place," 1824, agent noun from snipe (v.). The birds were considered a challenging target for an expert shooter:
Snipe Shooting is a good trial of the gunner's skill, who often engages in this diversion, without the assistance of a dog of any kind; a steady pointer, however, is a good companion. ["Sportsman's Calendar," London, December 1818]
snippers (n.) Look up snippers at
"scissors," 1590s, plural agent noun from snip (v.).
snippet (n.) Look up snippet at
1660s, from snip (n.) + diminutive suffix -et.
snippy (adj.) Look up snippy at
1727, "parsimonious;" 1848, "fault-finding, sharp;" 1886, "fragmentary;" from snip (n.) + -y (2). Related: Snippily; snippiness.
snips (n.) Look up snips at
"small, stout-handled shears for metal-working," 1846, from snip (v.).
snit (n.) Look up snit at
"state of agitation, fit of temper," 1939, American English, of unknown origin. First in Claire Boothe's "Kiss the Boys Good-bye," which gives it a U.S. Southern context.
snitch (n.) Look up snitch at
"informer," 1785, probably from underworld slang meaning "the nose" (1700), which apparently developed from an earlier meaning "fillip on the nose" (1670s). Snitcher in same sense is from 1827.
snitch (v.) Look up snitch at
1803, "to inform," from snitch (n.). Meaning "to steal, pilfer" is attested from 1904, perhaps a variant of snatch (v.). Related: Snitched; snitching.
snite (v.) Look up snite at
"to blow or wipe the nose," c. 1100, now Scottish and dialectal, from Old English snytan, related to Old Norse snyta, Middle Dutch snuten, Old High German snuzen, German schneuzen "to blow one's nose," and to snot.
snivel (v.) Look up snivel at
Old English *snyflan "to run at the nose," related to snyflung "running of the nose," snofl "nasal mucus;" see snout. Meaning "to be in an (affected) tearful state" is from 1680s. Related: Snivelled; snivelling. As a noun from 14c. Melville coined snivelization (1849). Middle English had contemptuous term snivelard (n.).
snivelling (adj.) Look up snivelling at
"mean-spirited, weak," 1640s, present-participle adjective from snivel (v.). Related: Snivellingly.
snob (n.) Look up snob at
1781, "a shoemaker, a shoemaker's apprentice," of unknown origin. It came to be used in Cambridge University slang c. 1796, often contemptuously, for "townsman, local merchant," and passed then into literary use, where by 1831 it was being used for "person of the ordinary or lower classes." Meaning "person who vulgarly apes his social superiors" is by 1843, popularized 1848 by William Thackeray's "Book of Snobs." The meaning later broadened to include those who insist on their gentility, in addition to those who merely aspire to it, and by 1911 the word had its main modern sense of "one who despises those considered inferior in rank, attainment, or taste." Inverted snob is from 1909.
Then there is that singular anomaly, the Inverted Snob, who balances a chip on his shoulder and thinks that everyone of wealth or social prominence is necessarily to be distrusted; that the rich are always pretentious and worldly, while those who have few material possessions are themselves possessed (like Rose Aylmer) of every virtue, every grace. ["Atlantic Monthly," Feb. 1922]
snobbery (n.) Look up snobbery at
"the class of snobs," 1833, from snob + -ery. Meaning "snobbishness" is from 1843.
snobbish (adj.) Look up snobbish at
1840, "pertaining to snobs," from snob + -ish. Meaning "with the character of a snob" is from 1849. Related: Snobbishly; snobbishness.
snobby (adj.) Look up snobby at
1835, from snob + -y (2). Related: Snobbiness.
snobocracy (n.) Look up snobocracy at
1853, from snob + -ocracy.
snog (v.) Look up snog at
"to flirt, cuddle," 1945, British English slang, of unknown origin, perhaps a back-formation from snogging. Related: Snogged.
snogging (n.) Look up snogging at
"kissing and cuddling," British English slang, 1945, of unknown origin, said to have originated in British India.