snail

noun
\ ˈsnāl How to pronounce snail (audio) \

Definition of snail

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a gastropod mollusk especially when having an external enclosing spiral shell
2 : a slow-moving or sluggish person or thing

snail

verb
snailed; snailing; snails

Definition of snail (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to move, act, or go slowly or lazily

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from snail

Noun

snaillike \ ˈsnāl-​ˌlīk How to pronounce snail (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for snail

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of snail in a Sentence

Noun go and tell the snails in the back to hurry up Verb the highway construction work created a bottleneck that had cars snailing for the next five miles
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most people associate TikTok with Gen Z, but Hatch is an octogenarian, and the star of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s widely followed account — snail expert Tim Pearce — is a baby boomer. Washington Post, "A printing press operator and a snail expert? These museum workers have become unlikely TikTok stars.," 10 Apr. 2021 The energy between them seems a little bit like a snail on a Xanax bender. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "Summer House Recap: Pornin’ Down the House," 8 Apr. 2021 While white-collar workers were ensured lifetime employment when Japan's economy thrived, today, many working adults face an unstable job market, snail-pace salary growth, and the prospect of never being homeowners. Emiko Jozuka, Selina Wang And Junko Ogura, CNN, "Japan's powerful patriarchy often sidelines women. Fixing that won't be easy," 5 Apr. 2021 The snail man was one of more than 47,000 archaeological finds made in England and Wales last year. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Was This Ornament of a Knight Emerging From a Snail Shell a ‘Medieval Meme’?," 24 Mar. 2021 The beguiling allure of cone-snail venom is double-edged. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Cone Snails Are Liars and Murderers," 12 Mar. 2021 On March 10, market intelligence firm Kalagato said that as per its data, even until December, the two food tech players were inching towards recovery at a snail’s pace. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, "Indians haven’t gone back to ordering in like pre-pandemic days," 10 Mar. 2021 In May, Texas Parks and Wildlife put out an advisory asking residents around the Houston area and the San Antonio River to report any sightings of the six-inch snail or its pink egg clusters, Mary Claire Patton reported for KSAT this May. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "‘Storm Tracker’ Maps Shows How Hurricanes Spread Invasive Species," 28 Oct. 2020 My luosifen kit came with eight packets of ingredients, including one for the snail meat. Washington Post, "China’s luosifen soup is a fantasia of flavors that doesn’t deserve its pungent reputation," 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Davison and the scientists bred the lefty snails together, and over three years, nearly 15,000 eggs were hatched from four generations of snails, including Jeremy. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Two lefties make a right, if you're a rare garden snail," 2 June 2020 Cathy Jordan may die as this snails its way through the system. Dara Kam, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Smokable medical pot case stays on hold," 3 July 2018 Cathy Jordan may die as this snails its way through the system. Dara Kam, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Smoking medical marijuana not allowed while legal fight continues," 3 July 2018 The investigators found that hungry caterpillars, which usually gorge on tomato leaves, had no appetite for them after the plants were exposed to snail slime and activated their chemical resistance. Erica Tennenhouse, Scientific American, "Plants “Eavesdrop” on Slimy Snails," 13 Apr. 2018 Payments for premiums still cannot be processed online - people have to snail-mail checks to a CGI processor in Nebraska. Lynnley Browning, Newsweek, "Doubling Down on Obamacare," 6 Feb. 2014 Ten minutes of the second half snailed by without anything more exciting happening than Ryan Bertrand missing a two-yard pass to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. SI.com, "England 1-0 Slovenia: Late Harry Kane Strike Sees England Qualify for World Cup 2018," 5 Oct. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of snail

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for snail

Noun

Middle English, from Old English snægl; akin to Old High German snecko snail, snahhan to creep

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about snail

Time Traveler for snail

Time Traveler

The first known use of snail was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for snail

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Snail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/snail. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for snail

snail

noun

English Language Learners Definition of snail

: a small animal that lives in a shell that it carries on its back, that moves very slowly, and that can live in water or on land

snail

noun
\ ˈsnāl How to pronounce snail (audio) \

Kids Definition of snail

: a small slow-moving mollusk that has a spiral shell into which it can draw itself for safety and that can live either on land or in water

snail

noun
\ ˈsnā(ə)l How to pronounce snail (audio) \

Medical Definition of snail

: any of various gastropod mollusks and especially those having an external enclosing spiral shell including some which are important in medicine as intermediate hosts of trematodes

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on snail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snail

Nglish: Translation of snail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of snail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on snail

What made you want to look up snail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!