Snollygoster

Category: Language Adventures

December 12, 2023

Initially used around 1845 but now antiquated, “snollygoster” was a slang word used to describe a cunning, deceitful individual, typically a politician who would go to any lengths to win an election.

Resorting to lying, cheating, stealing, and blackmailing, a “snollygoster” epitomizes an unscrupulous person who prioritizes personal gain over morality and is reminiscent of a carpetbagger.

According to History Hustle:

The origin of this term is suspected to have come from snallygaster, which is a word for “a mythical beast that preys on poultry and children.” Wait, what? Yes, apparently in American lore, there is a winged, dragon-like beast. It turned out to be a hoax by a publisher looking for more readership, but not before getting Teddy Roosevelt so excited about hunting it that he was going to postpone his safari to do it.

History Hustle

If you are so inclined, there is a store on Redbubble where you can buy Snollygoster T-shirts. You could gift one to your favorite politician.

Additionally, there is a board game called Snollygoster – The Card Game of Survival, Teamwork, and Sabotage, a Noble Knight Game. You better rush, though. There appears to be only one left in stock. A sign of the times, perhaps?

How To Pronounce

https://www.howtopronounce.com/snollygoster

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