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 snaillike (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 The realm of tiny animals is replete with bizarre and sometimes alien forms, says the image’s creator, Igor Siwanowicz of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who obtained the snail from his lab mate’s aquarium. Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American, "Luminous Zebra Fish Wins Contest for Microscopic Photography," 15 Oct. 2020 For those in distant locations, try sending a snail-mail letter that has a good chance of getting forwarded if the missing person has relocated. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "Tips for finding missing loved ones after a disaster," 9 Oct. 2020 In a fast-changing world of vampire facials and snail mucin face masks, the question is: Which ingredients are actually worth the hype, and which will work for your lifestyle, your skin type, and your skincare goals? Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "The Skincare Dictionary: Every Ingredient Explained," 2 Oct. 2020 The basic raw material was an opaque liquid that was obtained from the mucus glands of two types of sea snail, Murex trunculus and Murex brandaris. Mark Woolmer, National Geographic, "Purple Reign: A passion for purple built the Phoenicians' vast trading empire," 24 Sep. 2020 While moving at a snail’s pace, Sally unloaded an amazing 20 to 30 inches of rain on Georgia and the Carolinas, reports Ian Livingston for the Washington Post. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Did Hurricane Sally Move So Slowly? It Has to Do With Climate Change," 21 Sep. 2020 Recently, on a video call at home in Pittsburgh, Moyer held up a side plate featuring a giant snail crushing an ornate garden. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, "Coffee with Sasquatch and a Couple of Robots," 7 Sep. 2020 More than 50 letters followed, letters written at a snail’s pace at our kitchen table in a child’s painstaking scrawl. Washington Post, "My 5-year-old asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 'Have you ever made a mistake?’ Here’s her answer.," 26 Sep. 2020 So why has development slowed to a snail’s pace since then? Joanna Stern, WSJ, "Apple Watch Series 6 and SE Review: Watch Out for the Upsell," 24 Sep. 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, 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

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Snail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/snail. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for snail

snail

noun
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

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

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

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!