snowball

noun
snow·​ball | \ ˈsnō-ˌbȯl How to pronounce snowball (audio) \

Definition of snowball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a round mass of snow pressed or rolled together
b : snow cone
2 : any of several cultivated shrubby viburnums (genus Viburnum) with clusters of white sterile flowers

called also snowball bush

snowball

verb
snowballed; snowballing; snowballs

Definition of snowball (Entry 2 of 2)

1 intransitive : to increase, accumulate, expand, or multiply at a rapidly accelerating rate a trend that has begun to snowball It was one of those games in which things just snowballed and kept getting worse for Philly …— Paul Zimmerman The snowballing growth of the last few years probably cannot continue forever.— Tamar Lewin
2 transitive : to attack with snowballs : to throw snowballs at Any man so unwise as to walk alone by day was apt to be set upon and snowballed— Fritz Leiber

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Examples of snowball in a Sentence

Noun

This snow is perfect for making snowballs.

Verb

Problems snowball when early trouble signs are ignored. What started as a small annual concert has snowballed into a full-fledged music festival. consumers dealing with snowballing debt
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The team had snowball fights and learned words in local Pakistani languages. Salman Masood, New York Times, "Pakistani Military Rescues 6 Mountain Climbers Trapped by Avalanche," 18 June 2019 The team had snowball fights and learned words in local Pakistani languages. Salman Masood, BostonGlobe.com, "Pakistani military rescues 6 mountain climbers trapped by avalanche," 18 June 2019 These range from the virtuosic, if somewhat trivial—like the snowball, a device in which each line of a poem is progressively longer than the last—to the considerably more substantial. Luc Sante, Harper's magazine, "A Crew of Variegated Weirdos," 10 Jan. 2019 When Bill Buckner hit a fourth-inning home run, fans threw snowballs onto the field. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: Has it ever snowed for both Sox, Cubs home openers?," 5 Apr. 2018 Yet somehow within an hour, the whole circus, from snowball-hurling middle schoolers to wobbly kindergartners, is snowplowing, then speeding, downhill. Melody Warnick, Woman's Day, "These Small-Town Heroes Are Helping Their Communities Thrive," 2 Apr. 2019 There will be sledding and snowball fights and, okay, maybe some shoveling. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "How I Started Making Snow and Turned My Place Into a Ski Resort," 19 Feb. 2019 Sam Saunders, whose grandfather Arnold Palmer was among the Pebble Beach owners, scooped up hail and tossed it like a snowball. Doug Ferguson, The Seattle Times, "Mickelson beats everyone but the dark at Pebble," 11 Feb. 2019 Quinn lingered behind the couple, and even playfully threw a snowball back at the kids, according to royal reporters. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William and Kate Middleton Got Caught in an Adorable Snowball Fight," 4 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Meanwhile, the psilocybin decriminalization movement is snowballing at an incredible clip. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Heady, Thorny Journey to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms," 10 June 2019 The story would snowball, becoming part of the national conversation. Lynell George, latimes.com, "‘The Queen’ was kidnapper and a grifter — but her welfare scam made her a symbol," 7 June 2019 After that transfer, Roebuck’s tab mysteriously snowballed to $11,000. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 Credit to Toronto for not allowing that to snowball and taking control of the game after that point, but that's an inexcusable goal to concede. Avi Creditor, SI.com, "Wasteful Toronto FC Concedes Two Killer Goals in Dropping First Leg of CCL Final," 17 Apr. 2018 Others fear that the relatively limited price declines seen so far could snowball as more sellers are forced to the market. Philip Georgiadis, WSJ, "London Property Feels Brexit Sting," 1 Jan. 2019 The case has snowballed into an epic embarrassment for the Navy, which has struggled to explain how so many officers on the Blue Ridge succumbed so easily to the prostitutes, extravagant meals and expensive gifts that Francis dangled as temptations. Craig Whitlock, Anchorage Daily News, "Leaks, feasts and sex parties: How ‘Fat Leonard’ infiltrated the Navy’s floating headquarters in Asia," 1 Feb. 2018 The 1960s saw a series of breakthrough geological discoveries that snowballed into mounting evidence against the growing Earth theory. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Been Wrong Before: The Expanding Earth Theory," 3 Aug. 2018 Since then, China’s thirst for travel has snowballed. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Chinese Tourists Are Changing the Travel Landscape," 2 Nov. 2018

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1820, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for snowball

Last Updated

2 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for snowball

The first known use of snowball was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for snowball

snowball

noun

English Language Learners Definition of snowball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a ball of snow that someone makes usually for throwing

snowball

verb

English Language Learners Definition of snowball (Entry 2 of 2)

: to increase, grow, etc., at a faster and faster rate

snowball

noun
snow·​ball | \ ˈsnō-ˌbȯl How to pronounce snowball (audio) \

Kids Definition of snowball

: a round mass of snow pressed or rolled together

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More from Merriam-Webster on snowball

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with snowball

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snowball

Spanish Central: Translation of snowball

Nglish: Translation of snowball for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about snowball

Comments on snowball

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