[ sniv-uhl ]
See synonyms for: snivelsnivelingsnivellingsniveler on

verb (used without object),sniv·eled, sniv·el·ing or (especially British) sniv·elled, sniv·el·ling.
  1. to weep or cry with sniffling.

  2. to affect a tearful state; whine.

  1. to run at the nose; have a runny nose: She sniveled from the cold.

  2. to draw up mucus audibly through the nose: Stop sniveling and use your handkerchief.

verb (used with object),sniv·eled, sniv·el·ing or (especially British) sniv·elled, sniv·el·ling.
  1. to utter with sniveling or sniffling.

  1. weak, whining, or pretended weeping.

  2. a light sniffle, as in weeping.

  1. a hypocritical show of feeling: a sentimental snivel.

  2. mucus running from the nose.

  3. (the) snivels, a sniveling condition; a slight cold; the sniffles.

Origin of snivel

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English snyvele; compare Old English snyflung “sniveling,” derivative of snofl “mucus”; cognate with Low German snüfeln

Other words from snivel

  • sniv·el·er; especially British, sniv·el·ler, noun

Words Nearby snivel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use snivel in a sentence

  • I, the Socman, am shorn of my lands that you may snivel Latin and eat bread for which you never did hand's turn.

    The White Company | Arthur Conan Doyle
  • There was a snivel of delight on the face of the rascal who had formerly spoken, and who now responded to his chief's invitation.

    The Hero of Panama | F. S. Brereton
  • I dont snivel about what you call moral obligations; I only recognize money obligations.

    The Wayfarers | Mary Stewart Cutting
  • The boy was sniveling too, but I took notice it wasn't a scared snivel—it was a mad snivel, if you all know what I mean.

    Back Home | Irvin S. Cobb
  • Whatever you do (and I address myself in particular to you in the furthest), never snivel.

British Dictionary definitions for snivel


/ (ˈsnɪvəl) /

verb-els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. (intr) to sniffle as a sign of distress, esp contemptibly

  2. to utter (something) tearfully; whine

  1. (intr) to have a runny nose

  1. an instance of snivelling

Origin of snivel

C14 snivelen; related to Old English snyflung mucus, Dutch snuffelen to smell out, Old Norse snoppa snout

Derived forms of snivel

  • sniveller, noun
  • snivelling, adjective, noun
  • snivelly, adjective

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