Simple Definition of snivel
: to complain or cry in an annoying way
Full Definition of snivel
sniveled or snivelledsniveling or snivellingplay \ˈsni-və-liŋ, ˈsniv-liŋ\
1 : to run at the nose
2 : to snuff mucus up the nose audibly : snuffle
3 : to cry or whine with snuffling
4 : to speak or act in a whining, sniffling, tearful, or weakly emotional manner
Examples of snivel in a sentence
millionaires sniveling about their financial problems
“Woe is me,” she sniveled.
Did You Know?
There's never been anything pretty about sniveling. Snivel, which originally meant simply "to have a runny nose," was probably snyflan in Old English. It's likely related to sniffle, not surprisingly, and also to an Old English word for mucus, snofl. It's even related to the Middle Dutch word for a cold, snof, and the Old Norse word for snout, which is snoppa. There's also a connection to nan, a Greek verb meaning "flow." Nowadays, we mostly use snivel, as we have since the 1600s, to refer to self-pitying whining, whether or not such sniveling is accompanied by unchecked nasal flow.
Origin of snivel
Middle English, from Old English *snyflan; akin to Dutch snuffelen to snuffle, snuffen to sniff
First Known Use: 14th century
First Known Use of snivel
Seen and Heard
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