Sneer if You Like

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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