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

This would set off a snowball effect where more and more teams break the rules. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Understanding Why Salary Cap Circumvention Is Dangerous for the NBA," 25 July 2019 Or the kind of place that made Sam Wyche scold snowball-throwing Bengals fans by grabbing a p.a. Scott Patsko, cleveland.com, "Will the Dawg Pound live up to the hype in 2019? Cleveland Browns 19 questions," 11 July 2019 There was an old-fashioned intimacy as residents of a block took to summer chairs or met with acquaintances at the corner store on a post-dinner run for a snowball or ice cream. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Jacques Kelly: Baltimore summers before the advent of air conditioning were just 'Too Darn Hot'," 6 July 2019 In spring, dogwoods, blush-pink azaleas, and white hydrangeas that look like perfectly round snowballs are in full bloom everywhere. Diana Budds, Curbed, "This suburban utopia is all about worshipping nature," 14 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The musical follows the story of Evan Hansen, a social outcast who finds himself in quite the precarious situation after a lie about a classmate’s death by suicide rapidly snowballs. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""Dear Evan Hansen" Stars Andrew Barth Feldman and Gabrielle Carrubba on Starting Conversations About Mental Health," 7 Aug. 2019 Some items to be prepared include hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, snowballs and more. Shiela Johnson, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "North Carroll: Fire Company Parade returning to Hampstead; last summer demolition derby in Upperco," 22 July 2019 Momentum seems to be snowballing for the sophomore running back, who last season appeared in 13 games and rushed 142 times for 708 yards and three touchdowns. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Big 12 Media Days: 5 Takeaways from Day 2," 16 July 2019 The fight has since snowballed into a broader struggle for democracy and the preservation of freedoms that differentiate the enclave from China. Time, "Hong Kong Is a Rebel Enclave in a Sea of Totalitarianism. Welcome to the New West Berlin," 28 June 2019 But the opportunity to create more — and the motivation — snowballed after the overwhelmingly positive reception of that first piece. Laura Newberry, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column One: In a tiny California town ravaged by fire, a muralist finds a calling — and notoriety," 18 June 2019 What started as an unwavering desire to win and regain a title the U.S. had last won in 1991, says the goalkeeper, snowballed into something more meaningful, more far-reaching. Jaide Timm-garcia, CNN, "Women's World Cup: The match that changed women's football," 31 May 2019 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

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

13 Aug 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

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