I am pretty much a "vocabulary nut." For years - from my college days until the start of the 21st Century, more or less - I typed up a blue index card whenever I found a new word. On the flyleaf of many, if not most, of my books I would write down a list of the words in the book that I didn't know. Those are the words I would then look up, and document on those blue index cards. I bought a special set of card drawers to hold my collection.
I now subscribe to various "Word of the Day" services found on the internet. At this stage, I no longer type up the blue cards. Unlike historian Robert Caro, I don't have a typewriter anymore. He, reportedly, has ten!
At any rate, on the morning of Tuesday, February 7, 2023, when I should probably have been focusing with laser-like intensity on what I was going to teach in my upcoming Legal Studies class on "Marital Property," I was finding a new "Word of the Day." That's it, above: "Snollygoster."
I could just tell, from the sound of it, that a "snollygoster" was not on the "good" side of the "good - bad" continuum around which we all tend to organize our lives. And I was right! Here's the definition I discovered on the WordDaily website:
Snollygoster: A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.
For the record, having been a politician for twenty years, I want strongly to urge anyone reading this that while all "shrewd, unprincipled persons" may properly be labeled as "snollygosters," you can't, really, apply that label to all "politicians."
At least, that's not my experience. Furthermore, to the degree that we all start associating "politicians" with "shrewd" and "unprincipled" persons, we will defeat our ability to succeed in any positive efforts at democratic self-government, which is something in which we all need to be engaged!
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