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About chameleons & ‘snollygosters’: Tharoor’s sharp-witted swipe at political defectors

Tharoor’s post on Twitter showed a video of the chameleon crawling up the stick with these words: "The changing colours of political defectors in India, brilliantly illustrated by this actual chameleon! Snollygosters’ role model!"

PTI Reported By: PTI New Delhi Published on: November 18, 2022 14:57 IST
Tharoor, author-politician-wordsmith, has often sent
Image Source : FILE Tharoor, author-politician-wordsmith, has often sent Twitterati scurrying for their dictionaries to confirm whether such words indeed exist.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday took a swipe at party-hopping politicians in India by posting a video of a chameleon changing shades as it climbs a colour-banded pole and threw in a rarely used word to go with it - snollygoster.  The word snollygoster which is defined as a politician who cares more for personal gain than serving the people or a clever, unscrupulous person, perhaps summed up what Tharoor was trying to convey. His sharp-witted jibe comes in the backdrop of several politicians switching sides ahead of the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly polls.

Tharoor’s post on Twitter showed a video of the chameleon crawling up the stick with these words: "The changing colours of political defectors in India, brilliantly illustrated by this actual chameleon! Snollygosters’ role model!" The prolific author and man of many letters, known for throwing obscure English words into the Twitter lexicon, has used the word snollygoster earlier as well. In 2017, he tweeted the word in an apparent reference to Nitish Kumar switching sides to the BJP.

He did so again in 2019 when BJP's Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister of Maharashtra with Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar seemingly switching over to support a BJP-led government. The MP from Thiruvananthapuram on Friday tweeted another amusing word.

His "word of the week" was "Tantrump".

He posted the meaning of the word as well - an outburst of anger, characterized by an inflated sense of entitlement, denial, narcissism, paranoia, victimhood and debilitating tribalism. Tharoor shared an example of its usage -- "The losing candidate threw a Tantrump." This was posted alongside a cartoon of former US president Donald Trump raising a hue and cry over his poll defeat.

Tharoor, author-politician-wordsmith, has often sent Twitterati scurrying for their dictionaries to confirm whether such words indeed exist. In May this year, Tharoor shared his "word of the era" -- doomscrolling. He helpfully shared the meaning too. "The act of continuously seeking out and reading bad news."

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