Every day I receive two emails from Words Trivia. This company offers exercises designed to help people increase their vocabulary (and advertise stuff). Half the time I have to guess the meaning of the word, and about half that time I guess right. This morning’s word was ubiquity. I thought I knew it so I chose “obscure,” but it actually means “common.”
A couple of days ago the word was snollygoster. I had never heard that word before, but I like to say it. It has an almost onomatopoeia ring to it. The choices they gave me were “smart person,” “kind person,” “unprincipled person,” or “honest person.” I had to guess, but just by saying the word, I didn’t think it had a positive meaning, so I chose “unprincipled person.” I was lucky! I guessed correctly.
Then Words Trivia gave me a definition of the word:
This is someone who is dishonest, cunning, and unscrupulous with the sole intention of gaining personal advantage. They are likely to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, regardless of the consequences to others. They are likely to be motivated by self-interest and personal gain rather than any higher principles or values. They may use lies, manipulation, and other unethical means to achieve their goals. They are cunning and often difficult to confront, as they are usually very good at covering their tracks and disguising.
I have no idea why (or do I?), but immediately I thought of a specific person. I’m going to give you a chance to choose one of the four following people: Jesus, Mother Teresa, the forty-fifth president of the United States, or my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Barton. I have no idea which one you chose. but the answer is the forty-fifth president. I’m not sure which came first—that person or the definition—but for me they fit like a hand in a glove.
Even though this person seems to be extremely popular in this country, I suspect many people, if I promised I would never tell anyone else, might agree with my candidate. Of course, I would love to hear your answer and why you agree or disagree.
This definition certainly fits some other people as well, most of whom we have heard. How about Danny Masterson, the television actor who was just found guilty of doing awful things to women? Of course, he says he’s totally innocent and that stuff never happened and doesn’t show an iota of remorse. Is he a snollygoster?
Also, a man by the name of O. J. Simpson, who is responsible for the deaths of his ex-wife and a friend of hers and never had to spend the day in jail for doing that, is also a snollygoster.
I know this blog post is a bit silly, but I don’t feel too bad about it because now you know a new word, what it means, and how to use it. Also, you are one of elite who can say, “Oh yes, I even know a couple of snollygosters.”
On my next blog post, I promise no silly stuff!
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)