One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles.
(Perhaps alteration of snallygaster, a mythical beast said to prey on poultry and children [and african slaves ], perhaps from Pennsylvania Dutch schnelle geeschter : Middle High German snl, quick (from Old High German) + Middle High German geist, spirit (from Old High German).
One, especially a politician who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles.
The origin is unknown, though the Oxford English Dictionary suggests it may be linked to snallygoster, which some suppose to derive from the German schnelle Geister, literally a fast-moving ghost, and which was a mythical monster of vast size — half reptile, half bird — supposedly found in Maryland, and which was invented to terrify ex-slaves out of voting.
A Georgia editor kindly explains that “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 assumnacy”.
Columbus Dispatch, Ohio, 28 Oct. 1895.
Anyone We Know…?