Seasonal allergies came for a visit this year. We haven’t gotten together much the past few years – which was nice; I guess you could say we took a “breather.” Anyway, as I was sneezing and sniffling and wiping my nose one recent morning, it struck me just how many words that begin with “sn” have to do with the aforementioned schnozz. Consider this list:
sniff (and sniffle)
And then there are those terms that deal with our faces and attitudes, all of which happens above the shoulders:
So what’s the connection? Well after I compiled my list, I went in search of answers. I quickly discovered I’m not the first person to wander down this particular mental path. Most of the pioneers on this trail concluded there is no real connection. Possibly a transliteration from the ancient fnese (remember f’s and s’s looked a lot alike in old manuscripts.) Maybe a connection to the Germanic schnauz or schnozz, but that’s tentative; there are hints of earlier usages.
Now granted, snails, snakes, snow and snuggling don’t have anything to do with our heads or noses. But it’s odd that so many words with the same beginning do all have so much in common. This post may be much ado about nothing. But it was fun and it took my mind off my sniffles for a while, and that’s nothing to sneeze at, is it?