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

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, baltimoresun.com, "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, SI.com, "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, 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Developers have a pack mentality - which is another reason the human names have snowballed, Groff says. Lavanya Ramanathan, chicagotribune.com, "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 But the probe snowballed into a review of Pullman’s alleged embezzlement of union funds, as well as his alleged kickback scheme with Anne M. Lynch, a lobbyist whose firm had worked for the union. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "5 things to know about the case against the former State Police union chief," 21 Aug. 2019 Besides skiing, there's hiking, snowshoeing, snow tubing, snowman building and snowball fights. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "Sick of the heat? Here's where you can find a cool family vacation in summer," 18 Aug. 2019 Recent reports on mainstream and social media that Ofo couldn’t return users’ deposits snowballed in the past few weeks. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "Bike-Share Startup in China Veers Off Course," 21 Dec. 2018 Soon these disparate forces snowballed into the biggest movement against the British colonial administration Hong Kong ever witnessed. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz, "Hong Kong’s last major riots reshaped the city into the one we know today," 9 July 2019 What started as a group of eight friends has snowballed on social media. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "As Baltimore welcomes Trump-inspired trash collectors, residents seek lasting solutions," 15 Aug. 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

8 Oct 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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