some footnotes to recent postings

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jan 25 13:27:49 UTC 2002

>Hmm. I know this only as "cocking a snook" (and mostly from British
>text, at that), but I'm not surprised at the final k->t, esp. since it's
>done on the nose (snout, snoot). --- Or was "cocking a snoot" the
>earlier form?

Apparently it was either "cock" or "cut" and either "a snook" or "a snooks"
back in the 19th C. ... I don't know for sure what the "snook" means/meant
... there is a Scots verb "snoke"/"snook" = "nose"/"prowl"/"snort"/etc.; I
wonder whether there was once a noun form something like "nose" ... now
that I think of it, I wonder whether "snoop" in its modern sense might be a
descendent of this "snook" (the putative Dutch ancestor "snoepen" seems far
removed in sense). "Snooks" is of course a surname too. There was also
something like "take a sight" = "cock a snook" ... I suppose this might
liken the nose-gesture to the use of a sextant or so?

-- Doug Wilson

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