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

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 The snowball of Alex Jones’ social media accounts being banned or removed for the world’s biggest social networks has been building for a while now. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Apple just permanently banned Infowars from the App Store," 8 Sep. 2018 Among the snowballs stands included: Hansen's Sno-Bliz, Pandora's, Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls, Plum Street, Lou Lou's Snoballs & Ice Cream and Broad Street Snoballs. Ann Maloney, NOLA.com, "Looking for a New Orleans snowball? There's an app for that," 11 May 2018 Most importantly, Samudra—the zoo's 8-year-old Asian elephant—showed us that having a trunk is the most fun way to throw snowballs right before heading back inside his warm barn. Country Living, "Watch What This Polar Bear Cub Does After Huge Snow Storm Shuts Down Oregon Zoo," 12 Jan. 2017 The snowball, Randy Smith suspects, started in a rare Cactus League game. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres' Franchy Cordero proving difficult to keep down," 7 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 But the good-faith critiques of the bill snowballed into an assertion on the right that Democrats were going to open the borders — and, furthermore, that that was the point. Dara Lind, Vox, "Anatomy of a lie: where Trump’s fictitious “Open Borders Bill” comes from," 8 Oct. 2018 The latest problems snowballed to engulf the Cho family as Korean Air employees accused the family of other alleged wrongdoing. Washington Post, "Korean Air heiress apologizes before police questioning," 1 May 2018 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

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

7 May 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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