Is a Snozzberry real? The origins and meanings of the fruit

Willy Wonka

TikTok has brought back a word that has confounded people for nearly six decades: snozzberry. It seems like a fairly innocuous word, especially considering that it was used in a children’s book and film created by famous writer Roald Dahl. Snozzberry appeared in the 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

However, most TikTok videos referencing the word say that snozzberry ruined their childhoods. A famous publication by Cracked described snozzberry as ‘the filthiest joke ever hidden in a children’s movie.’

  • Roald Dahl initially stated that snozzberries were fruits eaten by gremlins that lived underground. 
  • Dahl later used snozzberries in the adult book My Uncle Oswald as a euphemism for male genitalia. 
  • The author received unfair criticism for allegedly making children taste penis-flavored wallpaper in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Snozzberry was a fruit eaten by gremlins plotting to take over the earth

Roald Dahl first mentioned snozzberries in the 1948 book Some Time Never: A Fable for Supermen. The publication described creatures known as gremlins that plotted to take back their place on earth after humans forced them to live underground. 

Roald Dahl in his writing hut | The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

The gremlins sabotaged humanity’s operations during World War II. However, they halted their missions after realizing that the human race would destroy each other, leaving the earth free for the gremlins to reoccupy. 

In Some Time Never, the gremlins’ primary source of sustenance was snozzberry, a sweet, juicy, red fruit that grew in orchards. 

Snozzberries appeared again in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Willy Wonka introduced lickable wallpaper that tasted like fruit. The wallpaper had pictures of fruit – bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, pineapples, strawberries, and snozzberries – and tasted differently depending on which image you licked. 

In Some Time Never and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, snozzberries were fruits eaten by gremlins. However, after humans annihilated each other in Some Time Never, gremlins didn’t take over: they were creatures made up by humans. 

Therefore, it stands to reason that snozzberries were made up fruits for imaginary gremlins. In the Willy Wonka film, Veruca asks Wonka: “Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?”

“We are the music makers… and we are the dreamers of dreams,” Wonka replies. By referring to people as the ‘dreamers of dreams,’ Wonka might be telling Veruca that snozzberry is a product of imagination. 

Dahl later used snozzberry as a euphemism referring to a penis

In 1979, Dahl reused snozzberries in his adult book My Uncle Oswald. The book involved a scam by Oswald Hendryks Cornelius, referred to as ‘the greatest fornicator of all time,’ and his sexy accomplice Yasmin Howcomely. 

Oswald convinced Yasmin to seduce the rich and powerful in Europe, intending to steal their semen and sell it to women looking to sire children with these famous individuals. 

After Oswald asked how Yasmin placed a condom on George Bernard Shaw, Howcomely replied:

“There’s only one way when they get violent. I grabbed hold of his snozzberry and hung onto it like grim death and gave it a twist or two to make him hold still. Very effective. You can lead them around anywhere you want like that. It’s like putting a twitch on a horse.”

In this context, Dahl used snozzberry as a euphemism referring to a penis. The Cracked article opines that when Dahl used the word fifteen years earlier, he also referred to male genitalia. Part of the article reads:

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was written in 1964, 15 years before My Uncle Oswald revealed that the wallpaper was made to taste like the head of a penis. In the strictest sense of the term, we’re pretty sure this makes Willy Wonka a pedophile.”

Most TikTok videos about snozzberries concur with the Cracked article, alleging that the Wonka film ruined people’s childhoods by making children lick penis-tasting wallpaper. 

However, in his previous works, Dahl clearly indicated that snozzberries were fruits. His use of snozzberries a decade and a half later to refer to penises doesn’t mean he had pedophilic intentions in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The use of fruits to refer to sexual organs is relatively common. People often use nuts and plums to refer to testicles – and melons to refer to breasts. If an author uses nuts in a children’s book in reference to the fruits and nuts in an adult book as a euphemism for testicles, it surely doesn’t make them a pedophile.