snap (v.) Look up snap at
1520s, of animals, "to make a quick bite," from snap (n.). Meaning "to break suddenly or sharply" is first recorded c. 1600; the mental sense is from 1970s. Meaning "come into place with a snap" is from 1793. Meaning "take a photograph" is from 1890. U.S. football sense first recorded 1887. Related: Snapped; snapping. To snap the fingers is from 1670s. Phrase snap out of it recorded by 1907. Snapping turtle is attested from 1784. Snap-brim (adj.) in reference to a type of hat is from 1928.
snapdragon (n.) Look up snapdragon at
garden plant, 1570s, from snap (n.) + dragon. So called from fancied resemblance of antirrhinum flowers to a dragon's mouth. As the name of a Christmas game of plucking raisins from burning brandy and eating them alight, from 1704.
snape (v.) Look up snape at
also sneap, "to be hard upon, rebuke, revile, snub," early 14c., from Old Norse sneypa "to outrage, dishonor, disgrace," probably related to similar-sounding words meaning "cut" (compare snip (v.)). Verbal meaning "bevel the end (of a timber) to fit an inclined surface" is of uncertain origin or connection. Snaiping "rebuking, reproaching, reviling" is attested from early 14c. Shakespeare has sneaped birds, annoyed by a late frost ("Rape of Lucrere").
snapper (n.) Look up snapper at
"one who or that which snaps," 1570s, agent noun from snap (v.). Applied to various fishes since 1690s. Slang meaning "vagina" is by 2000. As a short form of snapping turtle (1784) it is recorded from 1872. Snappers "teeth" is attested from 1924.
snappish (adj.) Look up snappish at
"peevish," 1540s, from snap (v.) + -ish. Related: Snappishly; snappishness.
snappy (adj.) Look up snappy at
"quick, energetic," 1825, from snap (v.) + -y (2). Meaning "clever, smart" is from 1871; that of "neat and stylishly elegant" is from 1881. Related: Snappily; snappiness. Command make it snappy attested from 1910.
snapshot (n.) Look up snapshot at
also snap-shot, 1808, "a quick shot with a gun, without aim, at a fast-moving target," from snap + shot (n.). Photographic sense is attested from 1890. Figuratively, of something captured at a moment in time, from 1897.
snare (n.1) Look up snare at
"noose for catching animals," late Old English, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse snara "noose, snare," related to soenri "twisted rope," from Proto-Germanic *snarkho (cognates: Middle Dutch snare, Dutch snaar, Old High German snare, German Schnur "noose, cord," Old English snear "a string, cord"). Figuratively from c. 1300.
snare (n.2) Look up snare at
"string across a drum," 1680s, probably from Dutch snaar "string," from same source as snare (n.1). From 1938 as short for snare-drum (1873).
snare (v.) Look up snare at
late 14c., "to ensnare," from snare (n.1). Related: Snared; snaring.
snarf (v.) Look up snarf at
"to take, grab," by 1989. Related: Snarfed; snarfing.
snark (n.) Look up snark at
imaginary animal, coined 1876 by Lewis Carroll in "The Hunting of the Snark." In 1950s, name of a type of U.S. cruise missile, and in 1980s, of a type of sailboat. Meaning "caustic, opinionated, and critical rhetoric" is from c.2002, probably from snarky and not directly related, if at all, to Lewis Carroll's use of snark.
snarky (adj.) Look up snarky at
"irritable, short-tempered," 1906, from snark (v.) "to find fault with, nag" (1882), literally "to snort" (1866), from an imitative source akin to Low German snarken, North Frisian snarke, Swedish snarka; and compare snarl (v.2), sneer (v.). Back-formation snark (n.) "caustic, opinionated, and critical rhetoric" is from c.2002 (compare snark (n.)). Related: Snarkily; snarkiness.
snarl (v.2) Look up snarl at
"growl and bare the teeth," 1580s, perhaps from Dutch or Low German snarren "to rattle," probably of imitative origin (compare German schnarren "to rattle," schnurren "to hum, buzz"). Meaning "speak in a harsh manner" first recorded 1690s. Related: Snarled; snarling.
snarl (v.1) Look up snarl at
"to tangle, to catch in a snare or noose" (trans.), late 14c., from a noun snarl "a snare, a noose" (late 14c.), probably a diminutive of snare (n.1). Intransitive sense "become twisted or entangled" is from c. 1600. Related: Snarled; snarling.
snarl (n.2) Look up snarl at
"a sharp growl accompanied by a display of the teeth," 1610s, from snarl (v.2).
snarl (n.1) Look up snarl at
late 14c., "a snare, noose," from snarl (v.1). Meaning "a tangle, a knot" is first attested c. 1600. Meaning "a traffic jam" is from 1933.
snatch (n.) Look up snatch at
c. 1300, "a trap, snare," from snatch (v.). Meaning "a sudden grab" is from 1570s; that of "a small amount" is from 1590s. Sense in weight-lifting is from 1928. Vulgar slang sense of "vulva" is recorded by 1903, perhaps 1864; a much older venereal sense was "sexual intercourse quickly performed" (1580s).
snatch (v.) Look up snatch at
early 13c., "make a sudden snap or bite" (at something), of uncertain origin; perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *snæccan or Middle Dutch snacken "to snatch, chatter." Compare snack (n.). Meaning "lay hold of suddenly" is from early 14c.; especially "take from someone's hands" (1580s). Weight-lifting sense is attested from 1928. Related: Snatched; snatching.
snatcher (n.) Look up snatcher at
1570s, agent noun from snatch (v.).
snazzy (adj.) Look up snazzy at
"stylish, flashy," 1932, U.S. colloquial, perhaps a blend of snappy and jazzy.
SNCC Look up SNCC at
1960, initialism (acronym) from Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which was organized in 1960.
SNCF Look up SNCF at
French national railway, 1949, initialism (acronym) for Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer.
sneak (v.) Look up sneak at
1550s (implied in sneakish), perhaps from some dialectal survival of Middle English sniken "to creep, crawl" (c. 1200), related to Old English snican "to sneak along, creep, crawl," from Proto-Germanic *sneikanan, which is related to the root of snake (n.). Of feelings, suspicions, etc., from 1748. Transitive sense, "to partake of surreptitiously" is from 1883. Related: Sneaking. Sneak-thief first recorded 1859; sneak-preview is from 1938.
sneak (n.) Look up sneak at
"a sneaking person; mean, contemptible fellow," 1640s, from sneak (v.).
sneaker (n.) Look up sneaker at
1590s, "one who sneaks," agent noun from sneak (v.). Meaning "rubber-soled shoe" is attested from 1895, American English; earlier sneak (1862), so called because the shoe was noiseless. See also plimsoll; another early name for them was tackies (1902), from tacky (adj.1).
The night-officer is generally accustomed to wear a species of India-rubber shoes or goloshes on her feet. These are termed 'sneaks' by the women [of Brixton Prison]. ["Female Life in Prison," 1862]
Related: Sneakers.
sneaky (adj.) Look up sneaky at
1833, from sneak (v.) + -y (2). Related: Sneakily; sneakiness. Sneaky Pete "cheap liquor" is from 1949.
sneer (v.) Look up sneer at
1550s, "to snort" (of horses), perhaps from North Frisian sneere "to scorn," related to Old English fnæran "to snort, gnash one's teeth," of imitative origin (compare Danish snærre "to grin like a dog," Middle Dutch, Middle High German snarren "to rattle"). Meaning "to smile contemptuously" is from 1670s; sense of "to curl the upper lip in scorn" is attested from 1775. Related: Sneered; sneering. Sneer word is in E. Digby Baltzell (1987).
sneer (n.) Look up sneer at
1707, from sneer (v.).
sneeze (v.) Look up sneeze at
late 15c., from Old English fneosan "to snort, sneeze," from Proto-Germanic *fneusanan (compare: Middle Dutch fniesen, Dutch fniezen "to sneeze;" Old Norse fnysa "to snort;" Old Norse hnjosa, Swedish nysa "to sneeze;" Old High German niosan, German niesen "to sneeze"), from Proto-Germanic base *fneu-s- "sneeze," of imitative origin, as is PIE *pneu- "to breathe" (source of Greek pnein "to breathe").

Other imitative words for it, perhaps in various ways related to each other, include Latin sternuere (source of Italian starnutare, French éternuer, Spanish estornudar), Breton strevia, Sanskrit ksu-, Lithuanian čiaudeti, Polish kichać, Russian čichat'.

English forms in sn- might be due to a misreading of the uncommon fn- (represented in only eight words in Clark Hall, mostly in words to do with breathing), or from Norse influence. OED suggests Middle English fnese had been reduced to simple nese by early 15c., and sneeze is a "strengthened form" of this, "assisted by its phonetic appropriateness." Related: Sneezed; sneezing. To sneeze at "to regard as of little value" (usually with negative) is attested from 1806.
sneeze (n.) Look up sneeze at
"act of sneezing," 1640s, from sneeze (v.).
sneezy (adj.) Look up sneezy at
1800, from sneeze (n.) + -y (2).
snell (adj.) Look up snell at
Old English snel "quick, active," cognate with Old Saxon, Dutch, Old High German snel, German schnell "swift, quick," Old Danish snel "swift, fleet," Old Norse snjallr "eloquent, able, bold." It survived as a surname and in Scottish and northern English; used by Burns and Scott. Italian snello is from Germanic.
snick (n.) Look up snick at
1962, American English, from common pronunciation of SNCC, initialism (acronym) for "Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee," black civil rights organization.
snick (v.) Look up snick at
"cut, clip, snip," c. 1700, back-formation from snickersnee.
snicker (v.) Look up snicker at
"laugh in a half-suppressed way," 1690s, possibly of imitative origin, similar to Dutch snikken "to gasp, sob." Related: Snickered; snickering.
snicker (n.) Look up snicker at
"a smothered laugh," 1835, from snicker (v.).
snickersnee (n.) Look up snickersnee at
1690s, originally "fight with knives," from snick-or-snee (1610s), from Dutch steken "to thrust, stick" + snijden "to cut" (compare German schneiden; see schnitzel).
snide (adj.) Look up snide at
1859, thieves' slang, "counterfeit, sham, bad, spurious," of unknown origin. Of persons, "cunning, sharp," from 1883. Sense of "sneering" is first attested 1933, perhaps via sense of "hypocrisy, malicious gossip" (1902). Related: Sneeringly.
sniff (v.) Look up sniff at
mid-14c., of imitative origin; possibly related to snyvelen (see snivel). As an expression of scorn or contempt from 1729. As a synonym for smell (v.) it dates from 1845. In reference to cocaine from 1925. Related: Sniffed; sniffing.
sniff (n.) Look up sniff at
1767, from sniff (v.); the scornful sense is from 1859.
sniffer (n.) Look up sniffer at
"the nose," 1858, agent noun from sniff (v.).
sniffle (v.) Look up sniffle at
1819, frequentative form of sniff (v.). Related: Sniffled; sniffling. The sniffles "runny nose, head cold" is recorded from 1825. Sniffly (1897) tends to refer to physical symptoms, while sniffy (1858) means "scornful, disdainful and disagreeable." Snuffy "annoyed" is from 1670s.
snifter (n.) Look up snifter at
1844, "a drink of liquor," earlier "a sniff," from a Scottish and northern English survival of an obsolete verb snift meaning "to sniff, snivel" (mid-14c.), of imitative origin (compare sniff (v.)). Meaning "large bulbous stemmed glass for drinking brandy" is from 1937. The association of "drinking liquor" with words for "inhaling, snuffling" (such as snort (n.), snootful) is perhaps borrowed from snuff-taking and the nasal reaction to it.
snigger (v.) Look up snigger at
1706, variant form of snicker (v.). Related: Sniggered; sniggering. As a noun from 1823.
sniggler (n.) Look up sniggler at
1840, in reference to fishing (especially for eels), agent noun from sniggle (v.) attested in this sense from 1670s, with verbal suffix -le + snig "an eel" (late 15c.), of obscure origin, but perhaps related to snake (n.), sneak (v.).
snip (n.) Look up snip at
1550s, "small piece of cut-out cloth," probably from Dutch or Low German snippen "to snip, shred," of imitative origin. Meaning "cut made by scissors" is from 1590s. As a nickname or cant word for a tailor, 1590s. Snip-snap-snorum, the card game, is 1755, from Low German.
snip (v.) Look up snip at
"to cut at one light, quick stroke," 1580s, from snip (n.). Related: Snipped; snipping.
snipe (v.) Look up snipe at
"shoot from a hidden place," 1773 (among British soldiers in India), in reference to hunting snipe as game, from snipe (n.). Figurative use from 1892. Related: Sniped; sniping.
snipe (n.) Look up snipe at
long-billed marsh bird, early 14c., from Old Norse -snipa in myrisnipa "moor snipe;" perhaps a common Germanic term (compare Old Saxon sneppa, Middle Dutch snippe, Dutch snip, Old High German snepfa, German Schnepfe "snipe," Swedish snäppa "sandpiper"), perhaps originally "snipper." The Old English name was snite, which is of uncertain derivation. An opprobrious term (see guttersnipe) since c. 1600.