\ 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


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


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for snail

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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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 But even a snail is bound to find prison life dreary. The Economist, "Snails in a cell A lockdown opera pays tribute to a political prisoner in Turkey," 4 July 2020 This time, the Bikini Bottom gang embarks on an epic journey to The Lost City of Atlantic City in search of Gary, who has been snail-napped. cleveland, "2020 Summer Movie Preview: 22 can’t-miss films to watch in theaters or at home," 15 June 2020 The cave yielded decorative beads made from mineral ochre, shark teeth and marine snail shells. Fox News, "Archery could date back 48,000 years in South Asia, study says," 14 June 2020 Control snails and slugs that feed on foliage with a slug and snail bait. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: Your summer lawn care guide," 11 June 2020 Its shell coiled counterclockwise to the left instead of the right, which made Jeremy a sinistral snail. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Two lefties make a right, if you're a rare garden snail," 2 June 2020 Chou and his colleagues created the new mini-insulin by removing the part of the human insulin molecule that causes clumping and introducing in their place the four amino acids from the sea snail venom. Popular Science, "Sea snail venom could lead to better insulin for diabetics," 2 June 2020 Map ants on the sidewalk, look for snail trails, or observe where squirrels move throughout the day or where dandelions grow. Ruth A. Musgrave, National Geographic, "Kids can’t explore the world right now. Have them map it instead.," 27 May 2020 Production of the 767 will remain at three per month, and the 747 jumbo jet will continue to be built at a snail’s pace of one plane every two months. The Seattle Times, Anchorage Daily News, "Boeing will cut more than 15% of jobs in commercial jet division, CEO says," 30 Apr. 2020 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,, "Smokable medical pot case stays on hold," 3 July 2018 Cathy Jordan may die as this snails its way through the system. Dara Kam,, "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., "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


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


1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for snail


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

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Time Traveler for snail

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for snail

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Snail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for snail


How to pronounce snail (audio)

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


\ 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


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on snail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with snail

Spanish Central: Translation of snail

Nglish: Translation of snail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of snail for Arabic Speakers

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