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


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 Meijer was referring to a 2015 incident when Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., brought a snowball to the Senate floor to dispute global warming. Matthew Daly, Star Tribune, 23 June 2021 It’s sort of like the snowball that kind of happened. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Apr. 2021 Like a snowball cascading down a mountain, gaining mass and momentum with every rotation, the UAB basketball team felt the brute power of an offensive avalanche in its worst loss of the season. Evan Dudley, al, 27 Feb. 2021 Investment in education has a snowball effect, improving employability, earnings and stability for families, communities, towns, cities, states and ultimately economies. Grigorij Richters, Forbes, 3 June 2021 The whole throwing team would get together to make snowmen and have snowball fights instead of practicing. Kristen Griffith,, 1 June 2021 Once a user begins viewing and engaging with content, there’s a snowball effect in which that user is served more and more of that type of content. New York Times, 20 May 2021 In autumn, children might play in leaves again, then gather for snowball fights in winter. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2021 Quarantine and the booming popularity of rosé — with sales growing by more than 40% per year in the U.S., according to the site Wine Economist — have also created a snowball effect that’s quickly raised the label’s profile. Yadira Lopez,, 23 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Talsma’s team was afraid the rumors could snowball into the type of misinformation that causes violence. Sidney Fussell, Wired, 6 July 2021 According to mental health specialists, those who frequently overthink — a tendency that's known as rumination in psychology speak — don't realize how quickly the habit can snowball. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 7 June 2021 That is when social-media posts uploaded by students over the weekend spill into chatter on campus and have the potential to snowball into a disruptive force. Yoree Koh, WSJ, 29 June 2021 Uncover every corner of your craft and your skills will snowball over time. Chris Schembra, Rolling Stone, 23 June 2021 Still, if your limits get exceeded too much or too often, stress can snowball into what nobody should strive for—burnout. Rob Dube, Forbes, 22 June 2021 But last month, several factors suddenly and unexpectedly aligned that allowed this slight to snowball into a major showdown. New York Times, 15 May 2021 But last month, several factors suddenly and unexpectedly aligned that allowed this slight to snowball into a major showdown., 15 May 2021 Stankowitz said the chlorine shortage could snowball into panic buying of other pool sanitizers as chlorine supplies run low. Nathan Bomey And Eli Golde, USA TODAY, 1 May 2021

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


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


1820, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Learn More About snowball

Time Traveler for snowball

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for snowball

Last Updated

30 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Snowball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for snowball



English Language Learners Definition of snowball

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a ball of snow that someone makes usually for throwing



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

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


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

Kids Definition of snowball

: a round mass of snow pressed or rolled together

More from Merriam-Webster on snowball

Nglish: Translation of snowball for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about snowball


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