Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Sun Dec 31 04:44:41 UTC 2000

'Snye' or 'sny' is a Canadianism meaning a side channel of a stream (Gage
Canadian Dict., 1983).  Etym: "From Canadian French chenail; cf French
chenal channel"  I don't have my Dict of Canadianisms (1967) on hand so
can't check the dates or cites, but I seem to associate it with the
Maritimes, for some reason (?)


Victoria Neufeldt
1533 Early Drive
Saskatoon, Sask.
S7H 3K1

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Grant Barrett
> Sent: Friday, December 29, 2000 2:22 PM
> Subject: Re: sny
> >To this very day there is a stretch of bayou along the Miss. near
> >Hannibal
> >called "The Sny."  It is I think even on road maps.
> and
> > Sni Island is a separate occurrence and is identified as "A
> >portion of the former river bottom on the Mississippi River that
> today is exposed
> because
> >of a change of course in the river."
> Sni Island in Marion County Missouri, of which Hannibal is the
> largest town, may be
> the same thing Tim Frazer refers to, as per this extract from the
> book"Lighting Out
> for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American
> Culture" by Shelley Fisher
> Fishkin.
> ngoutfortheterritor
> y.htm
> "In 1847, when Twain was eleven, a runaway slave who belonged to
> a man named Neriam
> Todd swam across the river and hid in the swampy thickets of Sny
> Island, on the
> Illinois side of the Mississippi... Some woodchoppers chased the
> slave into a part of the
> swamp called Bird Slough..."
> On the other hand, Tim Frazer is talking about *swampy land on
> the Missouri side*,
> not a real island on the Illinois side (although with the
> Mississippi River farms,
> islands, swamps and river bottom change roles often enough to
> make the county clerk's
> job difficult).
> In looking further at the USGS site, I see that there is also The
> Sny Basin (the The
> appears always capitalized) which refers to a rather large
> drainage area (watershed)
> in eastern Missouri including five counties and 13 water drainage
> measurement
> stations. This, I gather, is an extension of the Tim's Sny bayou.
> The map below shows,
> finally, that The Sny, in fact, spans the Mississippi.

I didn't turn up The Sny in my first search at the USGS and this had me a
confused. The capital T on The should have been a clue. A search at under "The Sny" turns up:

Feature Name: The Sny
Feature Type: channel
State:  Illinois
County:         Adams
USGS 7.5' x 7.5' Map: Marblehead
Latitude:       394714N
Longitude:      0912108W

Feature Name: The Sny Cutoff
Feature Type: canal
State:  Illinois
County:         Pike
USGS 7.5' x 7.5' Map: Summer Hill
Latitude:       393011N
Longitude:      0905918W

More Sny:

Missouri NWIS-W Data Retrieval page

The Sny Levee District

Newspaper Extracts from 1880 that mention The Sny Levee

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