snail

noun
\ ˈsnāl \

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

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Other words from snail

Noun

snaillike \ˈsnāl-ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for snail

Synonyms: Noun

crawler, dallier, dawdler, dragger, laggard, lagger, lingerer, loiterer, plodder, slowpoke, straggler

Antonyms: Noun

speedster

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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

And in the case of Crikey steveirwini, a rare snail from northern Queensland, even the genus name honors Irwin, in the form of his favoured colloquialism. Kevin Thiele, Smithsonian, "Why Scientists Name Species," 28 Apr. 2018 Once the theater was in the company’s hands, renamed the Globe, and relocated across the Thames, the snail-like processes of British justice ensured that the players’ tenure dragged on for years. Charles R. Morris, WSJ, "‘Energy’ Review: The Path to Power," 21 June 2018 Socotra has a unique ecosystem and is home to rare plants, snails and reptiles that can be found nowhere else on the planet. Fox News, "Powerful cyclone lashes into Arabian Peninsula, killing at least 3," 26 May 2018 Once arrived, the girls experience days filled with quiet, quirky wonders: sand castles and ocean currents, edible snails and giant beetles, injured raptors and mint-eating raccoons. WSJ, "Children’s Books: Safe Journeys," 11 May 2018 Starfish feed on a variety of invertebrates, including mussels, sea urchins, clams and snails. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Starfish on California coast, nearly wiped out by mystery illness, make stunning recovery," 22 June 2018 People also got itchy rashes thanks to parasites called avian schistosomes, which usually infect birds and a specific species of snail. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "There might be poop in the water you’re swimming in so please don’t swallow it, CDC says," 29 June 2018 Prized as delicacies by Chinese and Japanese immigrants who arrived in the mid-19th century, the snails became a massive industry. Degen Pener, Los Angeles Magazine, "What’s Being Done to Revive L.A.’s Decimated Abalone Population," 22 June 2018 And the pace is somehow that of a meandering snail. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Hip-Hopping With the Stars in ‘Half Time’," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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.

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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

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Phrases Related to snail

at a snail's pace

Statistics for snail

Last Updated

2 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for snail

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

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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 \

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 \

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

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