Friday, 22 July 2011

Word of the week #12


Much of this week's news in the UK has been dominated by the ongoing scandal revolving around Rupert Murdoch's News International, whose British newspapers are accused of, amongst other things, hacking into the mobile phones of tragedy victims in search of stories to run. This has in turn raised the question of how close many prominent politicians, including the last three Prime Ministers (Blair, Brown and Cameron), are to the company and how much illegal behaviour has been overlooked as to not jeopardise a relationship that was seen as politically advantageous for whomever was in the favours of Murdoch and his lieutenants.

This week's word is related to just such a circumstance, where politicians are guided by a desire for power and personal advancement rather than moral principles. It's also one of those words that is enormously entertaining to say out loud, meaning that it'll be both hilarious and fairly easy to slip into conversation. Your word of the week is...
 
Snollygoster

Noun: A sleazy and unscrupulous politician who will do anything to gain more power or prestige. Pronounced as written. From 19th Century American English, possibly derived from the dragon-like monster snallygaster, which roamed the Blue Ridge Mountains of Maryland and loved children so much it could quite easily eat a whole one.

Example: Isn't it amazing how the prospect of winning elections and holidaying with media moguls is enough to turn even apparently respectable politicians into subservient snollygosters?

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