Over a cocktail or seven this weekend I happened to use the word snogging causing general uproar and confusion amongst my lovely American lady friends. But what a mighty fine word it is! For those who do not know the term, it means kissing. Or to be more precise French kissing, which, just in case that’s another term that hasn’t travelled the many waves of the Atlantic, means kissing with tongues. In other words, not the kind of kissing you do with your Dad. Some dictionaries do suggest it can mean more than kissing, but I’m very clear that it doesn’t. Americans, snogging does not mean making out. Snogging is kissing. And that’s all. Making out, I have been advised, is much more of a catch-all term that can be quite useful when you don’t want to be too open about what you have or have not been getting up to. Perhaps more on that another time.
But for now back to snogging. I can’t seem to find an etymology for it, except a suggestion that it comes from the word snug. I’m not sure about that… although there is a cuddly aspect to snogging which isn’t present with a couple of synonyms for snogging that I wouldn’t use now but did as a teen. Necking, for example. Means the same thing but doesn’t sound cuddly. In fact it sounds almost violent. Or how about nashing? On reflection, perhaps I ought to have spelt with a g at the front. Snogging but with teeth? Nice.
I did read today that snogging has increased in popularity as a word in the US since this happened:
Apparently JK used the word snog in one of the Harry Potter books and happily it wasn’t translated into something else for the US audience. Jolly good thing. Looks like me and JK Rowling are spreading the word. Perfect company to imagine being in 😉