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
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 Bring chips and dip, revealing my imperfections; or ask to reschedule, and halt the barreling snowball of our romance. Caroline Langerman, Glamour, "To Be Loved, I Had to Let Go of My Makeup," 29 Aug. 2019 Maybe the other panelists should be snowball-fighting with the enemy. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Sen. Cory Booker Blames Low Voter Turnout for Republican Victories," 23 Apr. 2018 The story hasn’t changed so much as it’s gone from molehill to mountain, snowball to boulder. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "The fascinating potential and unrealistic pressure awaiting Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes," 11 Jan. 2018 As the sun beat down on North Avenue, a line formed in front of Big O’s Hand Car Wash, where a man was selling snowballs. Mckenna Oxenden,, "West Baltimore residents say Trump tweets do nothing to help solve difficult issues," 29 July 2019 Scherzer pitches like a kid in a snowball fight, crouched and throwing from behind the corner of a building. Tom Verducci,, "The Rare Greatness of Max Scherzer Has Never Been More Evident," 1 July 2019 Make snowballs from shaved ice and form it around a shot glass. 2. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "This Snowball Shot Idea Is the Only Thing That's Getting Us Through This Cold Snap," 7 Jan. 2018 This would set off a snowball effect where more and more teams break the rules. Michael Mccann,, "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,, "Will the Dawg Pound live up to the hype in 2019? Cleveland Browns 19 questions," 11 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Missed payments and court fees can snowball into tens of thousands of dollars by the time an inmate walks free. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Some Michigan prisoners rack up tens of thousands in debt. It's avoidable.," 5 Sep. 2019 Your simple plans could quickly snowball into an all-out extravaganza. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for Aug. 9, 2019: Aries, really get to know someone; Pisces, hit the reset button," 9 Aug. 2019 What would follow was an incredible success story as Boyle and her story captivated fans around the world, with her appearances on the show snowballing into a successful music career, including millions of albums sold and two Grammy nominations. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "'Britain's Got Talent' alum Susan Boyle wants to become a foster parent," 24 June 2019 One wrong public statement from either side, and a crisis could still snowball quickly. Trita Parsi, The New Republic, "Could Obama’s Iran Playbook Save Trump From War?," 24 June 2019 When the snowstorm continues, their ruse snowballs as Nina and Brady are stuck attending holiday events together. Dan Snierson,, "Here's when all 28 new Lifetime Christmas movies will air," 22 Aug. 2019 Developers have a pack mentality - which is another reason the human names have snowballed, Groff says. Lavanya Ramanathan,, "From ‘Liz’ to ‘The Jason’: The bizarre trend of fancy apartments with human names," 23 Aug. 2019 Any delay or misstep can lead to a series of fines that will snowball until the owner certifies that the violation has been set right. Grace Ashford, New York Times, "The Law Was Aimed at Deadly Machinery. It Hit Her Washer.," 9 Sep. 2019 The protests, which have at times turned violent, have snowballed into a broader fight for greater democracy in Hong Kong, whose 7.2 million inhabitants are linguistically and culturally distinct from mainland Chinese. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "Hong Kong Braces for Another Weekend of Protests Despite Extradition Bill Withdrawal," 6 Sep. 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


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


1820, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for snowball

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for snowball

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

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More Definitions for snowball


How to pronounce snowball (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on snowball

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snowball

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with snowball

Spanish Central: Translation of snowball

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

Comments on snowball

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a calculated move

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