snowball

noun
snow·​ball | \ˈsnō-ˌbȯl \

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)

intransitive verb

1 : to engage in throwing snowballs

2 : to increase, accumulate, expand, or multiply at a rapidly accelerating rate

transitive verb

1 : to throw snowballs at

2 : to cause to increase or multiply at a rapidly accelerating rate

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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

As more women are elected to office, there’s also a snowball effect. Danush Parvaneh, Vox, "What happens when women win elections," 7 Nov. 2018 In an epileptic seizure, that normal brain activity goes into overdrive, creating a cascading snowball effect that interferes with motor control and can lead to loss of consciousness. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Implantable brain device could stop epileptic seizures in their tracks," 29 Aug. 2018 Democrats have to run their primary, too, of course, even if none of the prominent election forecasters give them even a snowball’s chance of winning the November election. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Live results for Wyoming primary elections," 22 Aug. 2018 Inhofe went viral in 2015 for carrying a snowball to the Senate floor to try to disprove global warming, according to the New Republic. Linley Sanders, Teen Vogue, "5 Things to Know About Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler," 8 July 2018 Many Parisians were caught building snowmen near the Louvre, skiing the hills of Montmartre, and having snowball fights in the Palais Royal garden. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Is How Parisians Enjoy a Snow Day," 7 Feb. 2018 The leading contender to date is Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, EPA bureaucrat, and aide to the snowball-wielding Senator Jim Inhofe. Emily Atkin, New Republic, "The Next Head of Trump’s EPA," 7 Feb. 2018 Try a yoga class on the water, sip a cold one on the brewery trail, or order a snowball in the shade. Valerie Bonk, Howard County Times, "10 ways to beat the heat in Howard County this summer," 6 June 2018 Kate Middleton couldn’t resist throwing a snowball at Prince William on their last day in Norway on Friday. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "Kate Middleton Tried to Start a Snowball Fight with Prince William — and He Was Not Having It!," 2 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fast-forward to this season, and things have kind of snowballed. Vogue, "A French Stylist to Supermodels Turns His Hand to Jewelry Design," 23 July 2018 From providing a platform for hate speech and Russian disinformation in the 2016 election, to its handling of users’ data, crisis after crisis have begun to snowball for the social media giant. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Facebook reportedly used anti-Semitic attacks to discredit its critics," 15 Nov. 2018 The march appeared to begin as a group of about 160 who decided to band together in Honduras for protection against the gangs who prey on migrants traveling alone and snowballed as the group moved north. Colleen Long, The Seattle Times, "Trump struggles for a plan should the migrant caravan arrive," 23 Oct. 2018 The idea snowballed across Europe, and by the 1930s, there was an International Youth Hostel Federation in place, drawing members from locations in Scandinavia, the British Isles, and mainland Europe. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Hostels Became Poshtels: The Remaking of a Backpacker's Hangout," 12 Sep. 2018 Speculation swirled that the protests might snowball and threaten the governing party, Georgian Dream. New York Times, "Movement to Legalize Drug Use Gains in a Former Soviet Republic," 14 May 2018 What began as a small team of local responders looking for some lost boys snowballed by midweek into a multinational emergency response. Time, "'Happy as I Could Be in the World.' What It Was Like in Thailand When Rescuers Found the Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave," 2 July 2018 Eventually Bolling's message snowballed into a total love fest (cue the waterworks) as professionals from all career fields shared kind words and appreciation for nurses and hairstylists everywhere. Caroline Alkire, Good Housekeeping, "A Hairstylist Reminded the World How Incredible Nurses Are With One Facebook Post," 28 Feb. 2017 So here’s the new problem: America’s declining popularity and the accompanying lack of respect that started to snowball after November 2016 is threatening to put a brand-new dagger through the hearts of U.S. soccer lovers like me. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "World Cup with no U.S. is a metaphor for what's wrong in America right now | Will Bunch," 12 June 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

1843, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for snowball

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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 \

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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