- A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.
“I thought he was going to be a snollygoster, but he ended up being the best city councilperson we’ve ever had.”
“If you go back on your promise, you’re going to earn a reputation as a snollygoster.”
“There will be no snollygosters or scalawags allowed to work here.”
German, mid-19th century
Why this word?
It may look like gibberish, but “snollygoster” is found in the dictionary, meaning “a shrewd and unprincipled politician.” The definite origin of this mid-19th-century word is unknown, but it most likely comes from the German “schnelle Geister,” meaning literally “quick spirits.”
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