Word: snerk

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 8 07:15:06 UTC 2013

Recently a tweeter who linked to my website used the word "snerk".

Tweet from Anne-Marie Clark @AMWClarkLaw on April 25, 2013
[Begin excerpt]
Snerk-- Variations on "I have received your book, and shall lose no
time in reading it."
[End excerpt]

There is no entry for "snerk" in the OED, the online Merriam-Webster,
or the dictionary.reference.com website (based on The Random House
Dictionary) (Checked on April 26, 2013.)

Wiktionary has an entry for "snerk"

[Begin excerpt]
Etymology  Imitative.

snerk   (Internet, slang) Expressing amusement; a snicker, or a snort
of laughter.

snerk (third-person singular simple present snerks, present participle
snerking, simple past and past participle snerked)
    (Internet, slang) To snicker or snort with laughter to express amusement.
[End excerpt]

Although OED does not have an entry it does have a match for "snirk"
within a quotation dated 2004 under the entry for "Scottice". The
quote indicates that a snirk is a snigger in the specialized context
of the quote.

[Begin excerpt]
Scottice, adv.
  Esp. introducing the Scots translation of a previously stated term:
in Scots. Also: in a Scottish manner.

2004   W. Neill in B. Findlay Frae Ither Tongues ii. 51   Again, to
snirk [snigger] and to lichtlie me [despise me] is more
telling—Scottice—than ‘scornfully to slight me’.
[End excerpt]

Urban dictionary has multiple entries for "snerk"

The muppet wiki mentions 1967 muppets named snerk and snorf

The two most entertaining matches in GB were:

Year: 1979
Title: Binary Star No. 3:
  (Two novels: Dr. Scofflaw by Ron Goulart; Outerworld by Isidore Haiblum)
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Page: 103
(Google Books snippet data; May be inaccurate)

[Begin excerpt on GB page 103]
"We'll settle for a firsthand view," he told the old vendor who'd
stopped beside their outdoor cafe table. "Snerk snerk," said the old
lizard, apparently laughing. "You'll never set foot within a thousand
feet of Ofego, mister."
[End excerpt]

[Begin another excerpt on GB page 103]
Tossed him, his retinue and six of his seven wives out right smack on
their tokes. Snerk snerk. It was a sight, surely.
[End excerpt]

This use above corresponds to a type of laugh, but it is the laughter
of an alien creature.

Year: 1825
Title: Supplement to the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language
Author: John Jamieson
Volume: 2
Page: 434
Column: 1
Publisher: Printed at the University Press for W. & C. Tait, Edinburgh


[Begin excerpt]
To SNIRK, v. n. To draw up the nose hastily, as an expression of
contempt or displeasure, Gall.
"Snirk, to give the nose a smart draw up with the membranes of
itself;" Gall. Encycl.
[End excerpt]

This is fun because the origin of "snirk" here may be imitative, but
the meaning is different.

An alternative spelling snurk is sometimes used.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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