snaffle

noun
snaf·fle | \ˈsna-fəl \

Definition of snaffle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a simple usually jointed bit for a bridle

snaffle

verb
snaffled; snaffling\ˈsna-f(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of snaffle (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to obtain especially by devious or irregular means

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Did You Know?

Verb

The origins of snaffle are shrouded in mystery. What we know of its story begins in the 16th century - at that time, snaffle existed as both a noun referring to a simple bit for a horse's bridle and a verb meaning "to fit or equip with a snaffle" or "to restrain or check with or as if with a snaffle." The noun could be from an old German word for mouth, snavel, but the connection has not been confirmed. The "obtain" meaning of the verb appeared in the early 18th century, and its origins are similarly elusive. A 1699 dictionary entered snaffle with the definition "a Highwayman that has got Booty" - that's a logical derivative of the verb, but it is also unconfirmed.

Examples of snaffle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

So too is the manner in which Chinese visitors have been vilified in the region for snaffling prawns at buffets, barging into queues and misbehaving on planes. The Economist, "East Asia has the world’s fastest growing tourist industry," 12 Apr. 2018 Alan Pardew's side meanwhile were just outside the drop zone, and keen to snaffle a result at their neighbourhood rivals. SI.com, "West Ham vs Crystal Palace: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More," 29 Jan. 2018 The young American rallied to put together a remarkable final few holes, carding three birdies and one eagle in the process, to snaffle the claret jug for the first time. CNN, "2017 in golf: Sergio wins, Tiger returns and Thomas arrives," 26 Dec. 2017 Shaqiri aimed a tame, left-footed shot at the Chelsea goal, and Blues stopper Thibaut Courtois was more than a match for the weak strike, snaffling up the effort with ease. SI.com, "Chelsea's Morata Puts Defensively Inept Stoke to the Sword With Clinical Hat-Trick," 23 Sep. 2017 Dozens of schlock horror movies have banked on the terror of being snaffled up by the toothy saurians, but the reptilian ambush predators of Olduvai Gorge actually did paleontologists a valuable service. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, "Why Paleontologists Should Love Meat-Eaters," 30 Jan. 2017 Dozens of schlock horror movies have banked on the terror of being snaffled up by the toothy saurians, but the reptilian ambush predators of Olduvai Gorge actually did paleontologists a valuable service. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, "Why Paleontologists Should Love Meat-Eaters," 30 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'snaffle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of snaffle

Noun

1533, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1724, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for snaffle

Noun

origin unknown

Verb

origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near snaffle

snack

snack bar

snack table

snaffle

snafu

snag

snag boat

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Time Traveler for snaffle

The first known use of snaffle was in 1533

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