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Sneer if You Like

June 27, 2019

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Have you ever noticed that most words that begin with "sn" have negative connotations? 

 

Think about:

  • Snail (in the context of slow, not escargot) 

  • Snafu (although in fairness, this is an acronym)

  • Snag

  • Snap (as in to "snap at" someone, not a lovely ginger snap) 

  • Snare

  • Snarky

  • Snarl 

  • Sneak

  • Sneer 

  • Sneeze (you can sneeze at an idea that you also sneer at) 

  • Snicker (a scornful laugh, not the candy bar)

  • Snide

  • Sniff 

  • Sniffles 

  • Snipe (take a cheap shot at someone) 

  • Snitch 

  • Snivel

  • Snob

  • Snoop

  • Snore

  • Snort (although a snort of whiskey can be good) 

  • Snotty (snotty little brat) 

  • Snub 

  • Snuck 

  • Snuff (as in snuff out a life)

  • Snug

 

I haven't been able to find any reason for this; it just seems to be an interesting phenomenon of the English language. And there are of course exceptions: snow can be lovely under certain circumstances, a snifter of brandy is nice, and being called a snazzy dresser is (usually) a compliment.  

 

 

 

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