\ˈsnap \
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 up shoppers 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

9 : snapshot

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


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.


I've trained the dog to come to me with a snap of my fingers. The snap of the bracelet broke.


a snap course that even an idiot could pass
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Setsuko Riggins of Fairfield was standing in the parking lot of the Cache Creek Casino Resort at midday Monday snapping photos of the smoke. Julia Sclafani And Sam Stanton, sacbee, "County Fire is the state's largest blaze, tearing through dry grass, oak and brush," 2 July 2018 White was backpacking alone and snapped photos of the grizzly before the attack. Anchorage Daily News, "The killing of an Eagle River hiker marks the 6th fatal bear attack in Alaska in the past 10 years. Here are the others.," 21 June 2018 Also, crafting and editing a long form video is arguably more labor-intensive than snapping a photo, and creators may want to be compensated directly by Instagram for that work. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "With IGTV, Instagram Takes Aim at YouTube," 20 June 2018 Using a four-run first inning, the team cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Cyclones to snap a three-game losing streak. Chris Jeter, The Aegis, "Back home, IronBirds snap losing skid with 6-1 win over Brooklyn," 12 July 2018 In Slovenia, an anti-immigrant party won the most seats in a snap election, but fell short of a majority. The Economist, "Politics this week," 7 June 2018 In the wake of the ruling, Sánchez demanded a parliamentary vote of no confidence, and then managed to outflank opposition to his candidacy from Ciudadanos, which wanted a snap election. Raphael Minder,, "Spain’s Rajoy ousted in no-confidence vote," 1 June 2018 Also, the center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) party — which has been leading recent opinion polls — is demanding a snap election and is vowing fierce opposition to Sanchez. Aritz Parra And Barry Hatton,, "Spain's prime minister is out; Socialist PM is in," 1 June 2018 The rack opens to about 12 inches high, 11 inches deep and 18 inches wide but can extend up to 24 inches wide, thanks to push-buttons that snap into slots spaced along the hanging bar. Judi Dash,, "This gear makes your world go round, flat, darker and spacier," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What can second-year man Samson Ebukam do with more snaps? Andy Benoit,, "The NFL’s Most Dynamic Team? 10 Thoughts on the 2018 Rams," 18 June 2018 Getty ImagesArchivio Cameraphoto Epoche Sprinkled in between snaps of smoothie bowls and selfies, more #bodyhair pics have probably popped up in your Instagram feed lately. Kiera Carter, Marie Claire, "Why Is Women's Body Hair Still Offensive?," 8 June 2018 Trump revels in the idea that at a snap of his fingers he can get rid of a Cabinet official. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "10 headlines that will make you wonder how Scott Pruitt still has a job," 6 June 2018 Flores transfers gallon jars of jalapeño verde into plastic thimbles with snap-on lids for carryout orders. Mike Sutter, Bon Appetit, "On the Clock with Austin’s Most Beloved Waitress," 6 June 2018 The Senate only ended up staying one additional week, and confirmed a host of additional nominees en bloc at the snap of the leader’s fingers. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "McConnell May Cancel August Recess To Keep Democrats From Going Home to Campaign," 16 May 2018 Vapes are meme-ready, funny in a way that cigarettes never were: the black-and-white photograph of James Dean smoking in shirtsleeves has been replaced with paparazzi snaps of Ben Affleck ripping an e-cig in his car. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Juuling and Scrolling the Days Away," 9 May 2018 Vapes are meme-ready, funny in a way that cigarettes never were: the black-and-white photograph of James Dean smoking in shirtsleeves has been replaced with paparazzi snaps of Ben Affleck ripping an e-cig in his car. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul," 7 May 2018 With the additions of wide receiver Allen Robinson on the outside and slot receiver Taylor Gabriel, there might not be enough snaps to justify keeping Sims at $6 million. Brad Biggs,, "Adding tight end Trey Burton leaves Bears with a big decision on Dion Sims," 14 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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

In order to provoke a snap vote, the chancellor could call a vote of confidence in parliament and engineer its failure. Bertrand Benoit, WSJ, "Germany Faces Unprecedented Path in Fight Over Migration Deal," 2 July 2018 The outcome of the snap vote agreement hinges on the Slovak National Party, whose Chairman Andrej Danko said on Monday the party was ready for early elections if needed. Radoslav Tomek,, "Slovaks Tilt Toward Snap Vote as Ruling Party Sets Ultimatum," 12 Mar. 2018 From graduations, weddings and family vacations to those long, lazy days sleeping in late and running through sprinklers— ’tis the season to get super snap-happy! Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Easy ways to share and organize digital photos," 5 June 2018 Whatever happens, Shuri will play a major role regardless as one of the few heroes left after Thanos's snap decision. David Betancourt,, "What's next for the Black Panther after 'Avengers: Infinity War'?," 1 May 2018 Plus, the papers come in a roll that's secured in the little snap tube, so it can get beat up in your bag without ruining the product. Tynan Sinks, Allure, "In Defense of "Festival Beauty," Even for People Who Hate Music Festivals," 25 Apr. 2018 Turkey's weak opposition is scrambling to mount a meaningful challenge against strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with just nine weeks to prepare for snap elections. Suzan Fraser, Fox News, "Turkey's weak opposition scrambles to challenge Erdogan," 19 Apr. 2018 Trump's snap decision — and the seemingly short time frame for starting negotiations — also has observers worried. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Will Trump’s North Korea gamble actually pay off?," 12 Mar. 2018 The viewers pressed keys to indicate their snap judgments about which side of the court, right or left, the ball was heading toward. Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, "To Boost Sports Performance (and Annoy Your Opponents), Grunt," 7 Mar. 2018

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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Learn More about snap

Dictionary Entries near snap





snap back


snap bean

Statistics for snap

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for snap

The first known use of snap was in 1530

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More Definitions for snap



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

: 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 \
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

6 : snapshot

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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