\ ˈsnap How to pronounce snap (audio) \
snapped; snapping

Definition of snap

 (Entry 1 of 4)

intransitive verb

1a : to make a sudden closing of the jaws : seize something sharply with the mouth fish snapping at the bait
b : to grasp at something eagerly : make a pounce or snatch snap at any chance
2 : to utter sharp biting words : bark out irritable or peevish retorts
3a : to break suddenly with a sharp sound the twig snapped
b : to give way suddenly under emotional stress or strain He snapped under the pressure of the job.
4a : to make a sharp or crackling sound
b : to use your thumb and fingers to make a short sharp sound People snapped to the beat.
5 : to close or fit in place with an abrupt movement or sharp sound the lock snapped shut
6a : to move briskly or sharply snaps to attention
b : to undergo a sudden and rapid change (as from one condition to another) snap out of it snapped awake
7 : sparkle, flash eyes snapping with fury

transitive verb

1 : to seize with or as if with a snap of the jaws
2 : to take possession or advantage of suddenly or eagerly usually used with upshoppers snapping up bargains
3a : to retort to or interrupt curtly and irritably
b : to utter curtly or abruptly
4 : to break suddenly : break short or in two
5a : to cause to make a snapping sound snap a whip
b : to make a snapping sound by moving (thumb and finger) against one another
c : to put into or remove from a particular position by a sudden movement or with a sharp sound snap the lock shut
6a : to project with a snap snapped a spitball across the classroom
b : to put (a football) in play with a snap
c(1) : to take photographically snapping exclusive news picturesCurrent Biography
(2) : to take a snapshot of snapped the scenery



Definition of snap (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : an abrupt closing (as of the mouth in biting or of scissors in cutting)
2a archaic : a share of profits or booty
b : something that brings quick and easy profit or advantage
c : something that is easy and presents no problems : cinch
3 : a small amount : bit
4a : an act or instance of seizing abruptly : a sudden snatching at something
b : a quick short movement lithe snaps of its body— Barbara Taylor
c : a sudden sharp breaking
5a : a sound made by snapping something shut the book with a snap
b : a brief sharp and usually irritable speech or retort
6 : a sudden spell of weather a cold snap
7 : a catch or fastening that closes or locks with a click the snap of a bracelet
8 : a flat brittle cookie — compare gingersnap
10a : the condition of being vigorous in body, mind, or spirit : alertness, energy
b : a pleasing vigorous quality
11 football : the act of a center's putting the ball in play from its position on the ground by quickly passing it between the legs back to a teammate (such as a quarterback) : the act of snapping the ball The quarterback fumbled the snap. [=fumbled the ball when it was snapped to him]



Definition of snap (Entry 3 of 4)

: with a snap

Definition of snap (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : done, made, or carried through suddenly or without deliberation a snap judgment
2 : called or taken without prior warning a snap election
3 : fastening with a snap a snap lock
4 : unusually easy or simple a snap course

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Examples of snap in a Sentence

Verb The branch snapped and fell to the ground. The earpiece of his glasses snapped off. She snapped the twig in two. The boy snapped the wing off his toy airplane. The bent tree snapped back into an upright position. I snapped the lid shut. She snapped the pieces together. She snapped her handbag shut. Noun I've trained the dog to come to me with a snap of my fingers. The snap of the bracelet broke. Adjective a snap course that even an idiot could pass
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s a whole lot of middlemen, and more links in the supply chain that can snap. Matt Simon, Wired, "Covid Is Accelerating the Rise of Faux Meat," 19 May 2020 Since this is an iPad, Apple has tried to re-imagine mouse input a bit, with fancy hover effects that change the mouse cursor shape, trackpad swipe gestures, and mouse movement that automatically snaps to the nearest button. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Office for iPad is getting trackpad support later this year," 8 May 2020 Now, there's no telling if 2020 would've been the year that streak was snapped. Shelby Dermer,, "What could have been: Bitter ending for softball players, teams around Greater Cincinnati," 6 May 2020 Schönbeck recalls rushing to open the führer’s car door, snapping to attention, and saluting as Hitler emerged. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "‘I have had, in my life, whole squadrons of guardian angels looking after me. There’s no other way.’," 6 May 2020 Less than a second later, the ball was through the cylinder, William was being mobbed by teammates and mighty UConn’s streak was snapped. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, "SportsDay staffers pick the best plays they’ve ever witnessed: Game-winners, miraculous catches and rare anomalies," 4 May 2020 He’s getting used to the inherent differences at center of having to read the defense and make the offensive line’s protection calls and snapping the ball. oregonlive, "Shane Lemieux training at center, preparing for wherever New York Giants assign him," 28 Apr. 2020 On the first cast, a small brown snapped at the fly and missed. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "The Godfather of Montana’s Bighorn River," 28 Apr. 2020 The two ironmen set records during their many years in Cleveland, with Thomas (2007-2017) setting the NFL’s snap streak with 10,363, the most since the league began recording them in 1999. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Browns LT Jedrick Wills Jr. will wear No. 71: ‘Starting my own legacy’," 27 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, when a snap election was called, the census was postponed. The Economist, "Sketchy in Skopje No one knows how many people live in North Macedonia," 14 May 2020 Last weekend's cold snap caught a lot of people by surprise. The Washington Post, "Adrian Higgins on lessons learned while gardening during a pandemic, and more," 14 May 2020 The calling of a snap lockdown over the weekend touched off a rush of panic-buying that all but defeated the purpose of trying to stem a surge in virus cases and deaths. Selcan Hacaoglu,, "Erdogan Gets Over Lockdown Chaos Without Losing Cabinet Member," 10 May 2020 The snap and sting of pickled carrots, daikon and chiles mingle with splintering bread, unctuous pâté and meats that are grilled or processed into cold cuts. Los Angeles Times, "Eight great places for takeout banh mi," 8 May 2020 This spring's launch spans floral-print hair scarves, stackable acrylic snap clips, extra-large organza scrunchies, and a padded headband that could pass for designer — and everything is under $10! Megan Decker,, "The Chicest Under-$10 Hair Accessories Just Dropped At Target," 4 May 2020 Starter Ronald Jones was benched against the Jaguars, opening the door for Barber to see his highest snap count since Week 2. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Fantasy football waiver wire: Backup RBs to handcuff, John Ross returns," 3 Dec. 2019 But can Daniels tighten up his cadence or simplify the snap count to prevent his blockers from jumping offsides? Greg Moore, azcentral, "Territorial Cup: Herm Edwards has Arizona State playing for top 25; Arizona's Kevin Sumlin on hot seat," 29 Nov. 2019 Her sweet snaps showed a smiling Louis posing in a bright gingham shirt, while his hands were covered in a rainbow of paint colors. Dave Quinn,, "Kate Middleton Just Shared Her First 'Instagram Vs. Reality' Post: See the Messy Reality!," 23 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Roy Robertson-Harris steamrolled center Corey Linsley on his first-quarter sack (4.9 seconds snap-to-throw). Rich Campbell,, "5 observations from rewatching the Bears’ Week 1 loss to the Packers, including Mitch Trubisky’s moment of truth and the defense’s sack machine," 7 Sep. 2019 Investors look at Snap’s new user numbers as an important metric to gauge the company’s future growth. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Makes A Case For Slow User Growth," 10 Aug. 2017 During the recession and in the years that followed, SNAP expanded to accommodate the increased number of people who needed food assistance. Greg Trotter,, "Fewer people going hungry in Cook County, but many still need help," 4 May 2017 Snap’s new technology, a 3-D lens, can also change and shift in response to physical objects. Katie Benner, New York Times, "To Stay Ahead of Facebook, Snap Rolls Out 3-D Features for Messaging," 18 Apr. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The striking work shirts, in colors that include bright magenta and chalky periwinkle, are made of Italian moleskin (and manufactured in India) and have contrasting hidden-snap chest pockets ($175). Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Let’s Take This Conversation Offline," 11 Feb. 2020 Still, holding a snap parliamentary poll would require dissolving parliament, a move that would need opposition support. Marek Strzelecki,, "Poland Floats Snap General Polls If Presidential Vote Plan Fails," 5 May 2020 Most studies on clothing perception, after all, deal with snap judgments about strangers. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "The Office Dress Code Should Never Come Back," 13 Apr. 2020 Any snap decision has the potential to haunt us forever. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Making of the Iowa Caucuses: 20 Minutes That Changed History," 7 Feb. 2020 His 82 percent snap share was the fourth highest among all running backs in Week 14. Frank Stampfl, The Denver Post, "Fantasy football Week 15 players to add include Drew Lock, Gardner Minshew," 10 Dec. 2019 The far-right firebrand’s League would likely win any snap national elections if Italy’s fragile coalition government falls at some point this year, opinion polls suggest. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Senate Committee Votes to Strip Italy’s Salvini of Immunity," 20 Jan. 2020 And the 49ers’ 2018 second-round pick won’t play a snap Sunday in Super Bowl LIV against the Chiefs. Eric Branch,, "49ers’ Dante Pettis inactive for Super Bowl LIV," 2 Feb. 2020 The same anti-establishment forces could help Zelenskiy consolidate power in snap parliamentary elections on July 21. Washington Post, "Legacy of Ukrainian Revolution Rides on Election Year," 23 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'snap.' 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 snap


1530, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1583, in the meaning defined above


1739, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for snap


Dutch or Low German snappen; akin to Middle High German snappen to snap

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Statistics for snap

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Snap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for snap


How to pronounce snap (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of snap

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to break quickly with a short, sharp sound
: to move into a specified position with a short, sharp sound
: to close (something) with a fastener and especially with a snap



English Language Learners Definition of snap (Entry 2 of 3)

: a sudden, short, sharp sound caused by something breaking or moving into a new position
: the act of snapping your fingers or the sound made when you snap your fingers
US : a device that fastens something by closing or locking with a short, sharp sound especially : a set of two metal or plastic pieces that fit tightly together when you press them

English Language Learners Definition of snap (Entry 3 of 3)

: done or made suddenly or without careful thought


\ ˈsnap How to pronounce snap (audio) \
snapped; snapping

Kids Definition of snap

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to break or break apart suddenly and often with a cracking noise The branch snapped.
2 : to grasp or grasp at something suddenly with the mouth or teeth
3 : to speak or utter sharply or irritably “You keep quiet!” snapped Beezus.— Beverly Cleary, Henry Huggins
4 : to make or cause to make a sharp or crackling sound snap a whip
5 : to close or fit in place with a quick movement The lid snapped shut.
6 : to put into or remove from a position suddenly or with a cracking sound She snapped on the light.
7 : to act or be acted on with energy The soldier snapped to attention.
8 : to grasp at something eagerly I snapped at the chance.
9 : to get, take, or buy at once Customers were hoping to snap up a bargain.
10 : to close by means of snaps or fasteners
11 : to take a snapshot of
12 : to make a short sharp sound by quickly moving the middle finger against the thumb



Kids Definition of snap (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a sudden short sharp sound
2 : an act of moving the middle finger against the thumb to make a short sharp sound
3 : something that is easy and presents no problems That job is a snap.
4 : a sudden change in weather a cold snap
5 : a catch or fastening that closes or locks with a click the snap on a purse
7 : a short amount of time … over the hedge he jumped in a snap— Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

Kids Definition of snap (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : made suddenly or without careful thought a snap decision
2 : closing with a click or by means of a device that snaps a snap lock
3 : very easy

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More from Merriam-Webster on snap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with snap

Spanish Central: Translation of snap

Nglish: Translation of snap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of snap for Arabic Speakers

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