Word of the Day : February 24, 2011

snaffle

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verb SNAFF-ul

Definition

: to obtain especially by devious or irregular means

Did You Know?

The origins of "snaffle" are shrouded in mystery. What we know of its story begins in the 16th century -- at that time, "snaffle" existed as both a noun referring to a simple bit for a horse's bridle and a verb meaning "to fit or equip with a snaffle" or "to restrain or check with or as if with a snaffle." The noun could be from an old German word for mouth, "snavel," but the connection has not been confirmed. The "obtain" meaning of the verb appeared in the early 18th century, and its origins are similarly elusive. A 1699 dictionary entered "snaffle" with the definition "a Highwayman that has got Booty" -- that's a logical derivative of the verb, but it is also unconfirmed.


Examples

Jacob snaffled up the last cookie, leaving his sister none.

"Started on Tyneside in the late 1930s, the chain has expanded by snaffling up other bakeries…." -- From an article by Will Self in the New Statesman, December 13, 2010



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "vicissitude," our Word of the Day from February 9, 2011? The answer is ...


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