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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Princess Estelle of Sweden celebrates her third birthday at La Haga Palace with a friendly snowball fight. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, 6 June 2022 While there, future animators can paint in Rapunzel’s Art Studio, take in story time at Belle’s Library, and get in a snowball fight with Olaf at Anna and Elsa’s Sommerhus. Brie Schwartz, Woman's Day, 11 May 2022 From snowball cookies to whoopie pies the sweets are endless. Raena Loper, Good Housekeeping, 10 Aug. 2022 The project began to snowball, accumulating about a few hundred scientific contributors and growing into what’s now called the Telomere-to-Telomere project, using a term that describes the end caps of chromosomes. NBC News, 31 Mar. 2022 There are three popular approaches to tackling debt: snowball, avalanche and blizzard. Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, 29 Jan. 2022 The disproportionate incarceration of people of color has a lasting snowball effect, Harris said, leading to a higher likelihood of unemployment and homelessness. Hannah Wiley, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 If one of the earlier flights was delayed, there’d likely be a snowball effect. Nerdwallet, cleveland, 31 July 2022 Start small, aim to make a personal connection with one person at a time, keep track, build your waitlist and see your audience snowball. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This test and others will try to change the orbit path of asteroids just a little to see how those changes snowball over time. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 14 Sep. 2022 There’s no clear successor yet for which lineage of the virus will snowball to dominance next and potentially drive up cases again. J. Emory Parker And Andrew Joseph, STAT, 4 Jan. 2021 Lots of small failures quickly snowball into new and larger failures. Mikhail Chester, Scientific American, 22 July 2022 Democrats are hoping the first glimmers of support from Republicans will snowball into wider support. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2022 Those relatively small differences in fees can snowball into big losses over time, Pew found. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 4 July 2022 Web application issues propagate at the speed of data, so even small problems can quickly snowball into massive outages. Mehdi Daoudi, Forbes, 24 June 2022 As a diplomatic crisis began to snowball in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Indian envoys were summoned to explain the country’s position. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, 6 June 2022 The losses could snowball if the move inspires other companies such as Paramount Global or Warner Bros. Discovery to follow suit. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 8 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near snowball

snow azalea


snowball cactus

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Statistics for snowball

Last Updated

29 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Snowball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for snowball


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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