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

Synonyms: Verb

crawl, creak (along), creep, drag, inch, limp, nose, ooze, plod, poke, slouch

Antonyms: Noun

speedster

Antonyms: Verb

fly, race, speed, whiz (or whizz), zip

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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

Duranta has purple-blue blooms that are snail shaped. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "The plants that will attract fall hummingbirds, butterflies," 13 July 2018 So the mantis shrimp doesn’t just come across a snail and bash the hell out of it at random. Matt Simon, WIRED, "'Ninjabot' Reveals the Mantis Shrimp's Wily Snail-Hunting Scheme," 14 June 2018 In the 1980s, an eighth-generation Mainer named Robin Hadlock Seeley began her doctoral research on a small yellow snail called the smooth periwinkle. Ben Goldfarb, Smithsonian, "How Seaweed Connects Us All," 31 May 2018 Fola Jinadu, owner and founder, opened the first Suya Spot in late 2015, serving different versions of the restaurant’s namesake — Suya, a popular meat skewer from West Africa — along with items like catfish pepper soup, nkwobi (cow foot) and snail. Wesley Case, baltimoresun.com, "Nigerian restaurant Suya Spot to open new location in Owings Mills," 7 May 2018 The Akron Zoo is one of only about 230 zoos that are accredited to participate in the Species Survival Plan program, and works with 45 species, from Partula snails to snow leopards and white-winged wood ducks. Jennifer Conn, Akron Reporter, cleveland.com, "Akron Zoo welcomes 8-year-old snow leopard, Tai Lung," 4 May 2018 By contrast, K-beauty—Korean products like snail-slime masks or starfish-extract cream—has faded. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Beauty Stocks’ Rise Is Looking Increasingly Cosmetic," 21 June 2018 Whereas other arboreal snakes feed on tree-dwelling mammals and birds, the small species Arteaga and his team discovered dine on snails and slugs. Alejandro Arteaga, National Geographic, "These 5 New Snake Species Suck Snails Out of Their Shells," 14 June 2018 Tomato plants detected snail slime in soil near them and mounted preemptive defenses, even though they were not directly touched. Erica Tennenhouse, Scientific American, "Plants Can Sense Animal Attack Coming," 6 May 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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Statistics for snail

Last Updated

11 Nov 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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