Snollygoster

Always on the lookout for unusual words I found this one with a high hit rate on google trends today and as with some other things I have come across I can find no real reason why a search for this word takes off on one particular day. Certainly in searching it myself there is no hit on Google news so it doesn’t seem to have been triggered by a news item.

Still this is a useful word and the meaning is worth checking out.   Here are some of the definitions – From Urban Dictionary

  • A 19th century coinage, meaning a crooked and flamboyant politician. Later, in Maryland folklore, a monster half bird and half snake, that was used to frighten ex-slaves out of voting.
  • A “carpetbagger”. Somebody who will go to any lengths to achieve public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

Michael Quinion on World Wide Words writes –

  •  “A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.”

I guess we all know politicians like that and some may even say that politician is a subset of snollygoster which I don’t personally subscribe to.   Well, maybe sometimes I do because there is always a fair bit of snollygosting going on amongst our erstwhile leaders.

Look at our Premier here in Victoria, John Brumby,  who claims, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, that we are not in recession.  Shrewd, certainly, unprincipled arguably, snollygoster?  Well I guess that will depend what side of the political fence you sit on and in the current climate whether you have a job or not.

I know that politicians change their minds – I live in the eastern suburbs and I remember the pre-election promise that eastlink would not be a toll road, only to find a few short weeks after they were re-elected that the situation had changed.  But how often is bad policy blamed on external influences and how often is political expediency used to mask the truth from the public?

Remember in the state budget last year that we were told we could expect four years of continued growth and that unemployment would remain at around 4-5% with a budget surplus approaching $800m/annum.   Now we find that growth is flat, if not negative, that unemployment will climb to more than 7% and the surplus is gone, not only for this year but probably for the forseeable future too.  I am an economic moron so I have no idea who to blame for this, but I guarantee you that politicians around the world will not only continue to blame the “worldwide economic crisis” but swine flu as well.

Watch the snollygostering continue.

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4 Comments

  1. suzen said,

    April 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    What a word! haha – hopefully nobody will call ME that! As for the Google hits, that whole arena baffles me and remains in esoterica for me.

    Your Brumby should chat with our (gulp, almost VP) Sarah Pallin who thinks that global warming is some made up story – they are both nuts. That woman was scary ignorant!

    Recent blog post: Flippin’ Out Over May

  2. Dorothy Stahlnecker said,

    May 1, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Wow it’s amazing as we have several of those persons here. Very good post I really enjoyed it although sad we all have such disgusting similarities with our representatives who are often idiots.

    Dorothy from grammology
    grammology.com

    Recent blog post: Life can be tough

  3. Stephanie said,

    May 2, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    I like that word, Loz. It sounds like something Dr. Suess would have originated. …I miss Dr. Seuss… 😦

    Recent blog post: Bring Back The Weather Channel of Yesteryear

  4. pam said,

    May 4, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Fabulous word and thanks for sharing. Some do say anything to get elected, but they mean it at the time they say it. Am going to try to find a way to use that word at work this week!

    Recent blog post: Mute Monday — Guess the place where I am (was) during the May 3, 1999 F5 tornado outbreak?


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