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snivel

verb sniv·el \ ˈsni-vəl \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of snivel

sniveled or snivelled; sniveling or snivelling play \ˈsni-və-liŋ, ˈsniv-liŋ\
intransitive verb
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

sniveler

play \ˈsni-və-lər, ˈsniv-lər\ noun

snivel was our Word of the Day on 05/12/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of snivel in a Sentence

  1. millionaires sniveling about their financial problems

  2. “Woe is me,” she sniveled.

Recent Examples of snivel from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'snivel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 and Etymology of snivel

Middle English, from Old English *snyflan; akin to Dutch snuffelen to snuffle, snuffen to sniff


2

snivel

noun

Definition of snivel

1 snivels plural, dialect : head cold
2 : an act of sniveling

First Known Use of snivel

1600


SNIVEL Defined for English Language Learners

snivel

verb

Definition of snivel for English Language Learners

  • : to complain or cry in an annoying way



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