\ 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 Instead of allowing an alternative candidate a chance to form a government, Netanyahu dissolved parliament and called another snap election — launching a scathing campaign aimed at ending the career of his former protégé. Washington Post, "Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker," 18 Sep. 2019 Instead of risking another leader being able to negotiate a coalition government Netanyahu dissolved parliament, triggering a snap election. NBC News, "Netanyahu fights for his political life as Israel heads to the polls," 17 Sep. 2019 Johnson responded by asking Parliament to agree to a snap election on Oct. 15. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "The UK parliament just voted to delay Brexit—for the third time," 4 Sep. 2019 In a related heart-to-heart, Brittany’s brother-in-law Demetrius tries to snap Brittany out of focusing so much on her body. Sarah Todd, Quartzy, "Can you be body-positive and want to lose weight?," 4 Sep. 2019 The president struck a Faustian bargain by accepting loans from the oligarchs that the state could never repay, thus enabling them to snap up Russia's most valuable assets. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Citizen K': Film Review | Venice 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Swinson narrowly lost her constituency that year, but regained it in a snap election two years later, defeating the Scottish National Party candidate who had replaced her. Parker Richards, The New Republic, "The Woman Who Could Beat Boris Johnson," 29 July 2019 His death on Thursday will pose a fresh test to Tunisia’s democratic credentials as the nation contends with setting up a snap election., "Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi dies at 92," 26 July 2019 One photo shows the Duchess of York with her arms around the beaming couple and appears to have been snapped inside Epstein’s opulent Upper East Side townhouse, the New York Post said. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Did Sarah Ferguson also stay friends with Jeffrey Epstein after his first jail stint?," 11 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to STATS Perform, 128 of their 134 snaps in their first two games were out of the shotgun, a 95.5% clip. Ross Dellenger,, "'Out of the Dark Ages': How LSU's Lethal New Spread Attack Was Built," 17 Sep. 2019 To me, the most impressive part is how accurate his snaps are. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks OC Jake Hanson, CB Thomas Graham Jr., RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio injured of win over Montana," 15 Sep. 2019 One play later, on its first offensive snap of the game in the red zone, Los Amigos used a one-yard touchdown run by Juan Contreras to take the lead for good with 6:02 left in the third quarter. Daily Pilot, "Emotional Los Amigos halts eight-game losing streak with shutout of Saddleback," 12 Sep. 2019 In that 23-17 loss, the Los Angeles Chargers used seven defensive backs on all but one of their defensive snaps, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, counting on a disruptive front four and Jackson to struggle as a passer. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens film study: How do you stop Lamar Jackson’s passing attack? The Dolphins didn’t have any answers.," 11 Sep. 2019 But with his first career snaps against the Buckeyes coming up, Philyor is not talking about big, flashy plays. Stefan Krajisnik, Indianapolis Star, "Healthy Whop Philyor sets his sights on Ohio State," 11 Sep. 2019 Ted Karras, trying to fill the void left by David Andrews, did a fine job blocking, though his shotgun snaps had a little bit of hang time., "Thirty-three thoughts on the Patriots’ 33-3 win over the Steelers . . .," 10 Sep. 2019 Ohio State also used double or triple-tight end formations on 19 of its first 65 offensive snaps. Nathan Baird,, "How Ohio State football linebacker Pete Werner fared as the Bullet against Cincinnati | Buckeye Rewatch," 9 Sep. 2019 Compounding the problem was the timing – the Texans turned the ball over on their first offensive snap of each half. Angel Verdejo, Houston Chronicle, "The Woodlands rolls past Lamar for first win," 6 Sep. 2019 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 Just like humans, artificial intelligence is guilty of making snap judgments that are biased or inaccurate. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "ImageNet Roulette Highlights Bias in A.I. See For Yourself," 17 Sep. 2019 South Mountain sent the snap way over the quarterback’s head, but Smith ran it down and ran towards the sideline and up to the end zone for the touchdown. Staff, azcentral, "Arizona high school football Week 3 roundup: Perry outlasts Red Mountain in 4OT Thriller," 6 Sep. 2019 However, the joke helps show which journalists and political figures blindly tweet snap reactions without working to verify information, some argued. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "The 'Gorilla Channel' is fake, but some Twitter users still thought Trump watched it," 5 Jan. 2018 In the 28 European Union countries, eight of the most recent legislative elections were snap polls, called before the end of the normal parliamentary term. The Economist, "Are Western democracies becoming ungovernable?," 1 Aug. 2019 Do your own fact-checking, and be patient when urged to make a snap decision. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: July 10, 2019," 10 July 2019 But talking to Wynn candidly opened a window on what that’s actually like for a trans woman coming out today, before the snap judgment of thousands of strangers in the putrefying swamps of Twitter and Reddit. Katherine Cross, The Verge, "The Oscar Wilde of YouTube fights the alt-right with decadence and seduction," 24 Aug. 2018 With the new League-5 Star government, investors may be relieved that Italy won’t face a snap election just months after a parliamentary vote in March. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Italian Political Parties 5 Star and League Strike Deal on Coalition Government," 31 May 2018 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

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

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for snap

The first known use of snap was in 1530

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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

Comments on snap

What made you want to look up snap? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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