Tag Archives: 1890s

SNOLLYGOSTER

This now-defunct nonsense word was popularized almost singlehandedly by a Georgia Democratic Party operative named H. W. J. Ham, who traveled around the country during the 1890s with a stump speech titled “The Snollygoster in Politics.” Ham claimed to have first heard the term during an 1848 political debate. He defined a snollygoster as “a political hypocrite.” The Columbus Dispatch for October 28, 1895, captures the spirit of the word with this more elaborate definition: “A snollygoster is a fellow who wants office, regardless of party, platform or principles, and who, whenever he wins, gets there by the sheer force of monumental talknophical assumnancy.”

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