Snuzzle -- is Google reliable?

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Mon Dec 9 08:26:17 UTC 2002

A colleague the other day told me that he had heard someone on NPR use the
word "snuzzle", and though he found it highly expressive and
interpretable, said he had never heard it before, and wondered if I had.
It is familiar to me as a sort of combination of "snuggle" and "nuzzle"
(cf. also Jimmy Durante), typical of a cat burying its head in one's arm,
but out of curiosity I thought I'd take a look at Google, which is often
cited herein. It turned up 496 hits, but in checking out the first 150, I
found that about 145 of them concerned themselves with some series of toy
ponies (one even had a picture on his website) which seem to provoke the
most awful sentimental expressions from their owners. Of the 5 or so hits
which were not, several concerned sentimental doggerel about owners' cats,
which indulged in this activity, and only one, a website for Chambers
publications (dictionary, encyclopedia), focused on this as a language
item, including it in their "list of our favorite odd words" (which for
some reason would not print out from my screen). Maybe if I had taken time
to look at all 496 hits (slow, on my 56K modem connection), I would have
found three or four more of linguistic relevance.

        This leaves me wondering how usefully reliable hit statistics on
Google are sometimes.


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