Green’s Dictionary of Slang

snorter n.2

[fig. uses of SE snort]

1. (US, also up-snorter) ‘a dashing, riotous fellow’ (Bartlett, Dict. Americanisms).

[US]Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) 20 Oct. 3/1: I am just what you may call a real snorter [...] I can out eat, out drink, out work,out grin, out snort [...] out lie, any thing in the shape of man or beast.
H. Cockton Love Match 111: Why, when he comes he'll make us die o’ laughing! [...] He's a snorter ! — a regulor out-and-out snorter! What capital company he must be!
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 1 Apr. 7/4: Furguson, a ‘up-snorter’ from Roaring Forks, Col. [...] was arrested on a charge of having played every body he knew In town for a sucker.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 10 July 3/6: There is a boy named Dick, / Some say he is a snorter .

2. a gale, a stiff breeze.

G. Fracker Voyage to S. America 30: Whew! this is a snorter; and we must keep well aft, or else a sea from over the bows there, will throw us off our legs, or a spray give us a drencher to freshen our eyelids.
J.W. Gould Private jrnl Voyage from N.Y. 173: Some one [...] had accidentally cast off the painter of my boat, and the South wind having suddenly freshened into a snorter, I had quietly drifted out to sea.
[US]Brother Jonathan 5 257/1: Captin Tyler he shook out his white hankecher a leetle easy, and arter nussin his nose in it a minit, he gin a snorter of a blow.
[US]Cape Ann Fisherman in Bartlett Dict. Americanisms n.p.: The skipper said... we must make all snug, fur we’re going to have a snorter [F&H].
[US]T. Haliburton Season Ticket 292: It was a rael snorter, I tell you. Lord! It blew her great dingy bonnet right slap off her head.
[UK]Illus. London News 26 Sept. 7/1: [pic. cpation] A ‘Snorter’ in the Bay of Biscay.
[UK]D. Stewart Dead Man’s Gold in Illus. Police News 13 Feb. 12/1: ‘A rough night before us, I expect, captain.’ ‘Yes [...] we shall have a regular snorter by and by’.

3. anyone, occas. any thing exceptionally large, strong, violent etc.

[US]D. Crockett in Meine Crockett Almanacks (1955) 76: He swore he was a regular snorter, half-horse, half-alligator.
[US]Gleaner (Manchester, NH) 6 May n.p.: [of a newspaper story] Look out next week — a snorter is in the pot cooking [ibid.] 24 Junee n.p.: Look out Ira for a real snorter — rich, racy, and oh! how nice the fit.
[US]T.B. Thorpe Mysteries of the Backwoods 183: ‘I’m a roaring earthquake in a fight,’ sung out one of the half-horse, half-alligator sort of fellows, ‘a real snorter of the universe. I can strike as hard as fourth proof lightning, and keep it up, rough and tumble, as long as a wild cat.’.
[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 64: On the larboard hand was Mess No. 31, made up entirely of foretop-men, a dashing, blazeaway set of man-of-war’s-men, who called themselves the Cape Horn Snorters and Neversink Invincibles.
Donaldsonville Chief (LA) 27 Oct. 1/3: I’m the snorter from the boundless prairie.
[US]M.D. Landon Eli Perkins: Thirty Years of Wit 295: I’m a howler from the prairies of the West [...] I’m chain-lightning; if I ain’t, may I be blessed. I’m the snorter of the boundless perarie [sic].
[US]Sun (NY) 15 May 17/5: ‘Did you whang at a bear?’ [...] ‘I should say so! And an old snorter he was, I tell you!’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 2 July 4/8: By gosh! [...] He’s a snorter.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 30 June 4/8: Mac being a snorter for duty, and a terror to sly-groggers, prad pirates and camp ratters.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 202: snorter, a stentorian braggart. ‘He’s a snorter when he’s riz.’.
[UK]E. Raymond Tell England (1965) 313: Oh, the moon shines bright on Mrs. Porter / And on her daughter, / A regular snorter.
[US](con. 1840s) H. Asbury Ye Olde Fire Laddies 160: Number Six has come on deck / With a new assistant sec., / Do ye mind? / He’s as dirty as its water, / Tho’ he thinks himself a snorter.
[UK]Sussex Agric. Exp. 8 Apr. n.p.: [of a dog] He did not know the breed of the dog but thought it a rare one. ‘A snorter, I believe’.
[UK]Yorks Eve. Post 31 Jan. 6/1: His left hook is a ‘snorter.’ His right not his best punch.
[Aus]I.L. Idriess One Wet Season 10: Blue Bob was a ‘snorter,’ whistled like a horse every time he talked.

4. in fig. use.

[US]W.K. Northall Life and Recollections of Yankee Hill 122: There’s one story the old man used to tell about Boston, that was a real snorter: he always used to laugh afore he begun.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Jan. 4/4: In a recent letter to the Freeman – and a regular snorter, too – Mr. Butler says:- ‘When the Herald makes the next attack on the Catholics, she will do well to look a little nearer home.’.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Our New Horse’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 31: The last one they ran was a snorter — / A gallop to gladden one’s heart.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Dec. 25/3: Next day was a snorter. ’Bout 112 in the shade an’ write yer own ticket in the sun.
[UK]Poison Gas Feb. I:1 8: And then there is ‘Tiger’s Cub’ at the Garrick Theatre. Now this ought to be a regular snorter.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 23 May 5/3: Michael Redgrave [...] is being patiently groomed as a glamour boy, we suspect occasionally the dialogue rips out a snorter .
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 2 Apr. 8/2: [headline] Budget Will Be a ‘Snorter’.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 110: This letter of which I speak. It was a snorter.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 238: Write to them a snorter and tell ’em to look their bloody files up and sort out their backlog.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 194: snorter Hot day. A ringtail snorter is an exceptionally hot day or any other exceptional thing. ANZ C20.

5. a difficulty, an unpleasant situation.

[US]H.B. Marriott-Watson Web of the Spider 237: ‘What’s to become of me, then?’ asked Ida. [...] ‘Well,’ he said, ‘that’s rather a snorter. I dunno’ where we could put you.’.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 95: ‘Had a good day?’ ‘Oh no, a regular snorter!’.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 7 Jan. 2/3: [in clay pigeon shooting] Herbert got a snorter [...] that dropped full of pellets.
[UK]‘G.B. Lancaster’ Sons O’ Men 10: You may call it what you darn well please, but it’s going to be a snorter.
[US]N-Y Tribune 20 Sept. 58/2: Dear Inspector MacDonald [...] This case is a snorter.
[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ Third Policeman (1974) 153: A conundrum of inscrutable potentialities, a snorter.

6. an exceptional person.

[US]Princeton Union (MN) 22 Nov. 7/1: She as a snorter, too, real jam, and no mistake, a lady.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 14 Feb. 10/1: They Say [...] That oh, Gordon, you’re a snorter.

7. a severe reprimand.

[UK]H. Chapin letter 11 Jan. in Soldier and Dramatist (1916) 60: I wrote my son a snorter as you requested me. It really wasn’t easy [...] and I could just see him looking pleased at getting a letter from Doody and then disappointed at its contents.
[UK]Western Dly Press 1 Jan. 4/3: He did not know whether one might write what was called a ‘snorter’ to the Ministry.

8. (Aus./N.Z.) an ill-tempered, tetchy person.

[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 12 Feb. 5/5: Miss D [...] has started chasing the editor about. Keep away, Mars, she’s a snorter.
Transport Workers’s Song Bk 127: If the pannikin’s a ‘snorter’ with a look that’s woebegone [DNZE].

9. a sausage.

[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 183: Sausages are [...] ‘snorters’.