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[sniv-uh l] /ˈsnɪv əl/
verb (used without object), sniveled, sniveling or (especially British) snivelled, snivelling.
to weep or cry with sniffling.
to affect a tearful state; whine.
to run at the nose; have a runny nose:
She sniveled from the cold.
to draw up mucus audibly through the nose:
Stop sniveling and use your handkerchief.
verb (used with object), sniveled, sniveling or (especially British) snivelled, snivelling.
to utter with sniveling or sniffling.
weak, whining, or pretended weeping.
a light sniffle, as in weeping.
a hypocritical show of feeling:
a sentimental snivel.
mucus running from the nose.
snivels, a sniveling condition; a slight cold; sniffles (usually preceded by the).
Origin of snivel
1275-1325; Middle English snyvele; compare Old English snyflung (gerund), derivative of snofl mucus; cognate with Low German snüfeln
Related forms
sniveler; especially British, sniveller, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sniveled
Historical Examples
  • If he exists, he has assumed a less offensive form than when he ate muffins and sniveled inanity in Mrs. Snagsby's back room.

  • "Honestly, I didn't think it would kill anything but ragweed," Henry sniveled miserably.

  • She may have sniveled a good deal, but she was capable of loving some one else better than herself.

  • Part of the time I sniveled and part of the time Allie sniveled, and once or twice we were all three all balled up in our throats.

    At Good Old Siwash George Fitch
  • Brent sank weakly into his chair and began to whimper: "I'm as good a man as I ever was," he sniveled.

    Snowdrift James B. Hendryx
  • I remember I sniveled a little at being taken at my word, but it served me right for saying one thing when I meant another.

    Family Pride Mary J. Holmes
  • It was a bitter cry, and Aunt 'Mira sniveled as she stood over the dish-pan.

    The Mission of Janice Day Helen Beecher Long
  • I was so pleased I cried, and all the way over to the shelter-house I sniveled and danced with joy at the same time.

    Where There's A Will Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • He was all sorrow, and sniveled and blubbered and wept hot, blinding tears through the dark, leathery fingers of his hands.

    Twelve Men Theodore Dreiser
British Dictionary definitions for sniveled


verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
(intransitive) to sniffle as a sign of distress, esp contemptibly
to utter (something) tearfully; whine
(intransitive) to have a runny nose
an instance of snivelling
Derived Forms
sniveller, noun
snivelling, adjective, noun
snivelly, adjective
Word Origin
C14 snivelen; related to Old English snyflung mucus, Dutch snuffelen to smell out, Old Norse snoppa snout
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sniveled



Old English *snyflan "to run at the nose" (cf. snyflung "running of the nose"), related to snofl "nasal mucus;" see snout. Meaning "to be in an (affected) tearful state" is from 1680s. Related: Snivelled; snivelling. As a noun from 14c. Melville coined snivelization (1849). Middle English had contemptuous term snivelard (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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