• synonyms


[sniv-uh l]
See more synonyms for snivel on Thesaurus.com
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.
Show More
verb (used with object), sniv·eled, sniv·el·ing or (especially British) sniv·elled, sniv·el·ling.
  1. to utter with sniveling or sniffling.
Show More
  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).
Show More

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sniveling

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

Examples from the Web for sniveling

Historical Examples of sniveling

  • Come, come; don't go to sniveling; be a good girl, and mind the main chance.

    The Contrast

    Royall Tyler

  • Augustine went off, sobbing and sniveling, dragging her feet in the snow.


    Emile Zola

  • From sobbing, Miss Winthrop dwindled to sniveling, and there she stopped.

    The Wall Street Girl

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • She did not care about him, so what was she sniveling about and making her nose all red?

    The Wall Street Girl

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • What care have we for monastery bells and sniveling priests!

British Dictionary definitions for sniveling


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
Show More
  1. an instance of snivelling
Show More
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 sniveling



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.).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper