[sniv-uh l]
See more synonyms for snivel 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.
  3. to run at the nose; have a runny nose: She sniveled from the cold.
  4. 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.
  3. a hypocritical show of feeling: a sentimental snivel.
  4. mucus running from the nose.
  5. 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 formssniv·el·er; especially British, sniv·el·ler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for snivel

gripe, whimper, whine, groan, shine, sob, sniff, blubber, weep, complain, fret, sniffle

Examples from the Web for snivel

Historical Examples of snivel

  • When the blows fell, he held his breath, but he did not snivel.

  • When the blows fell, he held his breath, but did not snivel.

    Winning His Way

    Charles Carleton Coffin

  • Mr. Snivel has placed himself against it, begs she will be calm.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

  • I am so glad—But (Mr. Snivel interrupts himself) never mind that!

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

  • Mr. Snivel frets his fingers through his beard, and bows with an easy grace.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

British Dictionary definitions for snivel


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
  3. (intr) to have a runny nose
  1. an instance of snivelling
Derived Formssniveller, nounsnivelling, adjective, nounsnivelly, adjective

Word Origin for snivel

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

Word Origin and History for snivel

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