Share this entry

snivel Syllabification: sniv·el
Pronunciation: /ˈsnivəl/

Definition of snivel in English:

verb (snivels, sniveling, sniveled ; British snivels, snivelling, snivelled)

[no object]
1Cry and sniffle: Kate started to snivel, looking sad and stunned
More example sentences
  • When they eventually troop off, and away, I blub and snivel for hours because the house is suddenly so terribly empty.
  • He glanced back at the pathetic shell of a man who stood in the middle of his living room, whimpering and snivelling.
  • Here I was, a blubbering heap, sniveling before these grand people…
sniffle, snuffle, whimper, whine, weep, cry
informal blubber, boo-hoo
1.1Complain in a whining or tearful way: he shouldn’t snivel about his punishment (as adjective sniveling) you sniveling little brat!
More example sentences
  • Someone has to straighten these people out before all of our kids turn into sniveling, whining, spoiled brats.
  • After all the man had done for him, how could he whine and snivel and ask for more, dragging him down with demands?
  • I couldn't look at them, all I could do was whine and snivel and cry like a stupid, stupid baby.


Back to top  
A slight sniff indicating suppressed emotion or crying: Lucy’s torrent of howls weakened to a snivel
More example sentences
  • Eric held back a reminiscent snivel, but the two voices heard it.
  • The snivel, therefore, from our mines to to jack up its delivery services is not only opportune but one which should be taken seriously.
  • There are certainly a few sniffs and snivels circulating the corridors of financial power in London, Tokyo and Frankfurt.


Late Old English (recorded only in the verbal noun snyflung 'mucus'), from snofl, in the same sense; compare with snuffle.



Example sentences
  • Grizzled veterans will squint into the sun, look you up and down, and warn that it is definitely not a race for snivellers.
  • In fact I won ‘sniveller of the year’ one year, according to a newspaper.
  • The creation of a generation of snivelers continues…


Example sentences
  • He's so snivellingly hateful and bitter.
  • They worked hard for their home, so how dare I snivellingly lay claim to any of it?
  • Only, and only then have I snivellingly taken back a post.

Words that rhyme with snivel

civil, drivel, shrivel, swivel

Definition of snivel in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fôrˈtisəˌmō
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly