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
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.
Mom told Jenny to stop sniveling about how mistreated she was and just do her chores.
"Clearly director Alan Taylor, whose previous work has mostly been in classy series television (lately, 'Game of Thrones' and 'Boardwalk Empire'), likes this character best, because he snivels most." - From a movie review by Michael Phillips in The Baltimore Sun, November 8, 2013
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