snit (n.)
"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.)
"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.)
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.)
"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.)
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.)
"mean-spirited, weak," 1640s, present-participle adjective from snivel (v.). Related: Snivellingly.
snob (n.)
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."
snobbery (n.)
"the class of snobs," 1833, from snob + -ery. Meaning "snobbishness" is from 1843.
snobbish (adj.)
1840, "pertaining to snobs," from snob + -ish. Meaning "with the character of a snob" is from 1849. Related: Snobbishly; snobbishness.
snobby (adj.)
1835, from snob + -y (2). Related: Snobbiness.
snobocracy (n.)
1853, from snob + -ocracy.
snog (v.)
"to flirt, cuddle," 1945, British English slang, of unknown origin, perhaps a back-formation from snogging. Related: Snogged.
snogging (n.)
"kissing and cuddling," British English slang, 1945, of unknown origin, said to have originated in British India.
snollygoster
1846, American English slang, fanciful coinage.
snood (n.)
Old English snod "ribbon for the hair," from Proto-Germanic *snodo (cognates: Swedish snod "string, cord"), from PIE root *(s)ne- "to spin, sew" (cognates: Lettish snate "a linen cover," Old Irish snathe "thread;" see needle (n.)). In the Middle Ages, typically worn by young unmarried girls, hence "It was held to be emblematic of maidenhood or virginity" [Century Dictionary]. Modern fashion meaning "bag-like hair net" first recorded 1938 (these also were worn by girls in the Middle Ages, but they are not snoods properly).
snook (n.)
"derisive gesture," 1791, of unknown origin.
snooker (n.)
1889, the game and the word said in an oft-told story to have been invented in India by British officers as a diversion from billiards. The name is perhaps a reference (with regard to the rawness of play by a fellow officer) to British slang snooker "newly joined cadet, first-term student at the R.M. Academy" (1872). Tradition ascribes the coinage to Col. Sir Neville Chamberlain (not the later prime minister of the same name), at the time subaltern in the Devonshire Regiment in Jubbulpore. One of the first descriptions of the game is in A.W. Drayson's "The Art of Practical Billiards for Amateurs" (1889), which states in a footnote "The rules of the game of snooker are the copyright of Messrs. Burroughes & Watts, from whom they may be obtained," they being manufacturers of billiard tables.
snooker (v.)
"to cheat," early 1900s, from snooker (n.). Related: Snookered; snookering.
One of the great amusements of this game is, by accuracy in strength, to place the white ball so close behind a pool ball that the next player cannot hit a pyramid ball, he being "snookered" from all of them. If he fail to strike a pyramid ball, this failure counts one to the adversary. If, however, in attempting to strike a pyramid ball off a cushion, he strike a pool ball, his adversary is credited with as many points as the pool ball that is struck would count if pocketed by rule. [Maj.-Gen. A.W. Drayson, "The Art of Practical Billiards for Amateurs," 1889]
snookums (n.)
trivial term of endearment, 1919, from Snooks, proper name used in Britain for "a hypothetical person" (1860), compare Joe Blow in U.S. As an actual proper name, Snooks dates back to the Domesday Book and may be from Old English *snoc "a projecting point of land" (perhaps here with sense of "a big nose").
snoop (v.)
1832, "to go around in a prying manner," American English, probably from Dutch snoepen "to pry," also "eat in secret, eat sweets, sneak," probably related to snappen "to bite, snatch" (see snap (v.)). Specific meaning "to pry into other people's business" is attested from 1921. Related: Snooped; snooping.
snoop (n.)
1891, "act of snooping," from snoop (v.). Meaning "one who snoops" is from 1929; meaning "detective" is from 1942. snooper "one who pries or peeps" is from 1889.
snoopy (adj.)
1895, from snoop (n.) + -y (2). The cartoon dog of that name in the "Peanuts" newspaper comic strip debuted in 1950.
snoot (n.)
"the nose," 1861, originally a Scottish variant of snout.
snootful (n.)
"as much (liquor) as one can take," 1885, from snoot (n.) + -ful.
snooty (adj.)
"proud, arrogant," 1918, noted that year as college slang, from snoot (n.) + -y (2). Probably with suggestions of snouty (1858); the notion being of "looking down one's nose." Related: Snootily; snootiness.
snooze (v.)
1789, cant word, of unknown origin, perhaps echoic of a snore. Related: Snoozed; snoozing. The noun meaning "a short nap" is from 1793. Snooze-alarm is from 1965.
snore (v.)
mid-15c., probably related to snort (v.) and both probably of imitative origin (compare Dutch snorken, Middle High German snarchen, German schnarchen, Swedish snarka; see snout). Related: Snored; snoring.
snore (n.)
mid-14c., "a snort;" c.1600, "act of snoring," of imitative origin; see snore (v.).
snorkel (n.)
1944, "airshaft for submarines," from German Schnorchel, from German navy slang Schnorchel "nose, snout," related to schnarchen "to snore" (see snore (n.)). So called from its resemblance to a nose and its noise when in use. The anglicized spelling first recorded 1949. The meaning "curved tube used by a swimmer to breathe under water" is first recorded 1951.
snort (v.)
late 14c., "to snore," probably related to snore (v.). Meaning "breathe through the nose with a harsh sound" first recorded 1520s. Sense of "express contempt" is from 1818. Meaning "to inhale cocaine" is first attested 1935. Related: Snorted; snorting. American English snorter "something fierce or furious" is from 1833.
snort (n.)
1808, "act of snorting," from snort (v.). Meaning "a drink of liquor" (especially whiskey) is from 1889.
snot (n.)
late 14c., from Old English gesnot "nasal mucus," from Proto-Germanic *snuttan (cognates: Old Frisian snotta, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch snotte, Middle Low German snute), from the same base as snout. Old English also had a verb snite "wipe or pick one's nose." Meaning "despicable person" is from 1809.
snotty (adj.)
1560s, "full of snot," from snot + -y (2). Meaning "impudent, curt, conceited" is from 1870. Related: Snottily; snottiness. Snotnose "upstart" is from 1941; snotty-nose "contemptible fellow" is from c.1600.
snout (n.)
early 13c., "trunk or projecting nose of an animal," from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch snute "snout," from Proto-Germanic *snut- (cognates: German Schnauze, Norwegian snut, Danish snude "snout"), which Watkins traces to a hypothetical Germanic root *snu- forming words having to do with the nose, imitative of a sudden drawing of breath (cognates: Old English gesnot "nasal mucus;" German schnauben "pant, puff, snort" (Austrian dialect), schnaufen "breathe heavily, pant," Schnupfen "cold in the head"). Of other animals and (contemptuously) of humans from c.1300.
snow (n.)
Old English snaw "snow, that which falls as snow; a fall of snow; a snowstorm," from Proto-Germanic *snaiwaz (cognates: Old Saxon and Old High German sneo, Old Frisian and Middle Low German sne, Middle Dutch snee, Dutch sneeuw, German Schnee, Old Norse snjor, Gothic snaiws "snow"), from PIE root *sniegwh- "snow; to snow" (cognates: Greek nipha, Latin nix (genitive nivis), Old Irish snechta, Irish sneachd, Welsh nyf, Lithuanian sniegas, Old Prussian snaygis, Old Church Slavonic snegu, Russian snieg', Slovak sneh "snow"). The cognate in Sanskrit, snihyati, came to mean "he gets wet." As slang for "cocaine" it is attested from 1914.
snow (v.)
c.1300, from the noun, replacing Old English sniwan, which would have yielded modern snew (which existed as a parallel form until 17c. and, in Yorkshire, even later), from the root of snow (n.). The Old English verb is cognate with Middle Dutch sneuuwen, Dutch sneeuwen, Old Norse snjova, Swedish snöga.
Also þikke as snow þat snew,
Or al so hail þat stormes blew.
[Robert Mannyng of Brunne, transl. Wace's "Chronicle," c.1330]
The figurative sense of "overwhelm; surround, cover, and imprison" (as deep snows can do to livestock) is 1880, American English, in phrase to snow (someone) under. Snow job "strong, persistent persuasion in a dubious cause" is World War II armed forces slang, probably from the same metaphoric image.
snow-blind (adj.)
1748, from snow (n.) + blind (adj.).
snow-goose (n.)
1771, from snow (n.) + goose (n.).
snow-plow (n.)
also snowplow, snow-plough, 1792, first mentioned in a New Hampshire context, from snow (n.) + plow (n.).
snow-shoe (n.)
also snowshoe, 1670s, from snow (n.) + shoe (n.). Related: Snowshoes.
snow-tire (n.)
1952, from snow (n.) + tire (n.). Earlier mud-and-snow tire (1948).
snow-white (adj.)
Old English snawhwit, from snow (n.) + white (adj.). Similar formation in Dutch sneeuwwit, Middle Low German snewhit, German schneeweiss, Old Norse snæhvitr, Swedish snöhvit, Danish snehvid. The fairy tale is so-called from 1885, translating German Schneewittchen in Grimm; the German name used in English by 1858.
snowball (n.)
c.1400, from snow (n.) + ball (n.1). Similar formation in West Frisian sniebal, Middle Dutch sneubal, German Schneeball, Danish snebold. Expression snowball's chance (in hell) "no chance" is recorded by 1910.
snowball (v.)
"to make snowballs," 1680s, from snowball (n.); sense of "to throw snowballs at" (someone) is from 1850. Meaning "to increase rapidly" is attested from 1929, though the image of a snowball increasing in size as it rolls along had been used since at least 1613, and a noun sense of "a pyramid scheme" is attested from 1892. Related: Snowballed; snowballing.
snowbank (n.)
1779, from snow (n.) + bank (n.2).
snowbird (n.)
also snow-bird, from 1680s in reference to various types of birds associated with snow, from snow (n.) + bird (n.1). From 1923 in reference to northern U.S. workers who went to the South in the winter months to work; by 1979 in reference to tourists.
snowbound (adj.)
1814, from snow (n.) + bound (adj.1).
Snowdon
mountain in Caernarvonshire, northern Wales, from English snow (n.) + Old English dun "hill, mountain" (see down (n.2); presumably translating a former Celtic name. The height is snow-covered much of the year.
snowdrift (n.)
c.1300, from snow (n.) + drift (n.).
snowdrop (n.)
early flower, 1660s, from snow (n.) + drop (n.).