Golly, a Snollygoster

Courtesy of the magnificent Merriam-Webster twitter account, I have been introduced to the word “snollygoster,” which is disparaging 19th century American slang for a politician who chooses his positions opportunistically rather than sticking to principles.

Excitingly, wiktionary thinks the etymological origin is the Pennsylvania German “snallygaster – a mythical beast that preys on poultry and children.”

Also, there is supposedly a snallygaster that lives in Frederick County, Maryland, near Washington, DC, and it has a lizard body and metal bird beak and octopus tentacles. It sounds like a train whistle. Teddy Roosevelt (probably apocryphally) thought he might hunt it.

But he is some kind of fool, because the snallygaster’s natural enemy is the Dewayo, which sounds a lot like a werewolf. Alternately, Teddy Roosevelt was a secret werewolf, which actually explains a lot.


Look at this convincing photographic evidence. Oh, how our standards for fake news have fallen.


Joseph says: Doesn’t Teddy Roosevelt, Vampire Hunter just make a hell of a lot more sense than Abraham Lincoln?

Romie: Yes. Completely. In general, I’m surprised the Rough Riders haven’t been fictionalized into an action team (to the best of my knowledge).

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