There are 2 main definitions of snap in English:

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snap 1

Pronunciation: /snap/

verb (snaps, snapping, snapped)

1Break or cause to break suddenly and completely, typically with a sharp cracking sound: [no object]: guitar strings kept snapping [with object]: dead twigs can be snapped off
More example sentences
  • The door staircase suddenly snapped off the foundation and soared up into the clouds, suddenly being torn apart by flying shrapnel of glass and metal.
  • Twigs were snapped off trees and one twig broke free from its limb and and flew straight at Spot and took his eye right out.
  • We don't have a car any longer simply because we were fed up with having wing mirrors snapped off, windscreen wipers broken or paintwork scratched.
break, fracture, splinter, come apart, split, crack
informal bust
1.1 [no object] Emit a sudden, sharp cracking sound: banners snapping in the breeze
More example sentences
  • The odd white flag with the red cross of St George snaps in the breeze on a makeshift flagpole of old aerials, high above the iron palisades, as if this was the last redoubt of a race on the verge of extinction.
  • Once they had hauled out their gear, Alf Baker motored away, the flag on his little boat's bow snapping in the winter breeze.
  • The sudden crack of canvas snapping in the wind halted his endeavours.
1.2 [no object] (Of an animal) make a sudden audible bite: a dog was snapping at his heels
More example sentences
  • If you've ever watched TV programmes of a shepherd and his dog, you'll have seen the dog snapping at the sheep s heels if they re slow to move.
  • The dog was snapping at Marten, sending green foam all over him and the street.
  • There are live crabs snapping at children, lobster tanks, and giant glass aquariums with huge fish floating sadly in limbo.
gnash its teeth
1.3 [with object or adverbial] Cause to move or alter in a specified way with a brisk movement and typically a sharp sound: Rosa snapped her bag shut
More example sentences
  • Sam promptly snapped her mouth shut, unaware that it had been moving in the first place.
  • Risa fell quite upon his intent stare and Zaile followed suit, snapping his mouth shut to prevent further profanity.
  • Zaile made to protest but snapped his mouth shut.
1.4 [no object] his mouth snapped into a tight, straight line
More example sentences
  • Movement is handled the same way - the cursor changes to an arrow, you click and the screen snaps to a new frame.
  • There was a click as it gave way, his eyes and head snapped up to look at her,
  • The sudden ceasing of motion made her eyes snap open.
1.5 [no object] Suddenly lose one’s self-control: she claims she snapped after years of violence
More example sentences
  • I accept that on the fateful day you snapped and lost your self-control as a result of that build up.
  • He claimed he could not remember anything of what followed before finding blood on himself, and told the jury he must have lost his temper and snapped after years of verbal abuse from Mr Berry.
  • But for whatever reason, he snapped and lost his temper that night.
flare up, lose one's self-control, freak out, go to pieces, get worked up
informal crack up, lose one's cool, blow one's top, fly off the handle
1.6 [reporting verb] Say something quickly and irritably to someone: [no object]: McIllvanney snapped at her [with direct speech]: “I really don’t much care,” she snapped
More example sentences
  • I snapped at him irritably, ignoring how my heart still bruised my ribcage with every beat.
  • I just snapped at my kids for no reason other than I felt like snapping.
  • The support worker snapped at me that she didn't have any patience with me after what had happened the night before, and I shouldn't even be there, I was lucky they let me go back.
say roughly, say brusquely, say abruptly, say angrily, bark, snarl, growl;
retort, rejoin, retaliate
informal jump down someone's throat
2 [with object] Take a snapshot of: he planned to spend the time snapping rare wildlife [no object]: photographers were snapping away at her
More example sentences
  • The actress claims a paparazzo photographer used a telephoto lens to snap her when she was partly undressed in her home.
  • Emaleth dug around her schoolbag, came up with a sleek little digital camera and snapped my picture before I could say a word.
  • He tracked down a paparazzo photographer who had snapped him surfing, and the pictures showed he was wearing the ring before he entered the water, but not after.
3 [with object] American Football Put (the ball) into play by a quick backward movement from the ground.
Example sentences
  • A center not only is confronted with that, but he also must determine if blocking assignments need to change before he snaps the ball.
  • Depending on the team's needs, he could be snapping the ball, pulling as a guard, or dealing with speedy defensive ends as an offensive tackle.
  • He's the player every quarterback finds as step one in pre-snap reads to predict what kind of coverage he may see once the ball is snapped.
4 [with object] Fasten with snaps: he pulled a white rubber swim hat over his head and snapped it under his chin


1A sudden, sharp cracking sound or movement: she closed her purse with a snap
More example sentences
  • A cacophony of loud snaps and steps echoed through the forest, oftentimes followed by the loud blast of a rifle.
  • Suddenly there was a loud snap, which sounded through the basement, and Lizzie had stopped screaming.
  • Keily heard a loud snap, like the sound of bones breaking as she flew through the air.
1.1 [in singular] A hurried, irritable tone or manner: “I’m still waiting,” he said with a snap
More example sentences
  • The snap in his tone was such that Carlie started to rise and salute, believing herself dismissed, but Captain Boniece motioned for her to remain.
  • Gerard Way stares me right in the eye, speaking with a slightly bitter snap in his tone that is only managed by those scorned by elitists in the past.
  • The sharp snap of her mother's voice pierced her reverie.
1.2Vigor or liveliness of style or action; zest: the snap of the dialogue
More example sentences
  • The vocal tone of the group was lovely but there was no oomph, no snap, no crackle and definitely no pop.
  • DVDs counter a sluggish CD market by adding visual snap to the crackle of pop
  • Like a bowl of rice bubbles that only needs milk, this article only needs a reader for it to go snap, crackle, pop!
2 (usually snaps) North American A small fastener on clothing, engaged by pressing its two halves together.
Example sentences
  • It has a front storm flap with zipper and hidden snaps, encased elastic cuffs and bottom hem, and bar-tacking at critical stress points.
  • The custom-made cushions, covered with a durable outdoor fabric, are secured to the frame with snaps.
  • It's made from soft cotton and features Western style pockets, pearl snap details, and Lurex stitching for a cool vintage look.
3 [in singular] North American informal An easy task: a control panel that makes operation a snap
More example sentences
  • Controlling the king was a snap - much easier than controlling his strong willed daughter.
  • Agility courses and obedience trials are a snap for the cattle dog, so are intense sessions with Frisbee or flyball.
  • She admits in a personal essay to having thought ‘in a moment of high arrogance’ that it would be a snap.
an easy task
informal a piece of cake, a cinch, a breeze, child's play, kid's stuff, duck soup
4 American Football A quick backward movement of the ball from the ground that begins a play.
Example sentences
  • That quick snap enables the pitcher to get more movement on his pitches.
  • The Lions ended the game with rookie Dan Orlovsky behind center, but Orlovsky was the third quarterback to take snaps for Detroit.
  • DT Ron Edwards would be a good every-down player if he played with more intensity on every snap.
5A snapshot.
Example sentences
  • Again don't worry about the quality; it can be a passport photo or a holiday snap!
  • It means one thing to carry, and the quality is easily good enough for printable holiday snaps, he says.
  • Shot with large format cameras and lit like a film set, the production of these photographs was far more than just for holiday snaps.
photograph, picture, photo, shot, snapshot, print, slide, frame, still
informal mug shot
6British A card game in which cards from two piles are turned over simultaneously and players call “snap” as quickly as possible when two similar cards are exposed.
Example sentences
  • The school is also encouraging parents to introduce their children to cards games such as old maid, snap and bridge.
  • A new pack of cards is set to revolutionise the way we play snap.
  • To consolidate learning, children can make cards for a game of 'Snap', with one hand-drawn image and geographical term on each card.


Done or taken on the spur of the moment, unexpectedly, or without notice: a snap judgment he could call a snap election
More example sentences
  • Beattie says his decision to call a snap election has been based on the need to urgently repair the state's system of child protection.
  • Clinton and his advisors were clearly taken aback by Barak's snap election decision.
  • My mother would make a snap judgment about him the moment she saw him, and, whether it be good or bad, when she heard he got me pregnant, all hell would break loose.



in a snap

informal, chiefly North American In a moment; almost immediately: gourmet-quality meals are ready in a snap
More example sentences
  • We looked over the results; the testricine explained what they'd done, and how she'd not only got everything right but done so in a snap.
  • If he were looking for places to go, I could suggest one in a snap.
  • Simply twist the unique rotating camera barrel, and automatically the 2 megapixel camera is ready to shoot high quality photos, in a snap.

oh snap

informal An exclamation of agreement or acknowledgment, often used in response to an insult: Since you’re an agent, maybe you should worry about your own clients! Oh snap, I forgot you don’t have any
More example sentences
  • So I saw her and I was like, "oh snap, it's that chick from the movie!"
  • Soon they began bickering about things such as "oh my God, you did NOT just look at my boyfriend that way" and "oh snap, you'd bettah check yo'self before you wreck yo'self, sister," and they started flinging explosives back and forth for a few years.
  • One of my more weak-livered buddies fell over as a result of booze, and oh snap what do we have here?

snap one's fingers

Make a sharp clicking sound by bending the last joint of the middle finger against the thumb and suddenly releasing it, typically in order to attract attention in a peremptory way or to accompany the beat of music.
Example sentences
  • All he needed to do was snap his fingers.
  • Nicolas suddenly snapped his fingers in front of my face, startling me back into reality.
  • She snaps her fingers to get Snow's attention.

snap someone's head off

see head.

Phrasal verbs


snap back

Recover quickly and easily from an illness or period of difficulty: our bodies can snap back pretty well from short-term bouts of stress
More example sentences
  • Quickly he snaps back into reality recognizing he is not asking for his bride's hand in marriage, but burying her.
  • Shaking her head quickly, and snapping back into reality, she reverted her attention back at her opponent.
  • Slowly, Rae came around, shaking her head quickly and snapping back to reality.

snap out of

[often in imperative] informal Get out of (a bad or unhappy mood) by a sudden effort: come on, Fran—snap out of it!
More example sentences
  • Look, I'm making an effort to snap out of the epic sulk brought on by all this.
  • Ashley snaps out of her mood and answers, ‘Sometimes I guess.’
  • ‘Alright,’ she agreed, snapping out of her brief mood lapse.
recover, get a grip, pull oneself together, get over it, get better, cheer up, perk up
informal buck up

snap something up

Quickly and eagerly buy or secure something that is in short supply or being sold cheaply: all the tickets have been snapped up
More example sentences
  • The interest shown so far has been magnificent, and we are very confident that the available properties will be snapped up quickly.
  • Tickets for the eagerly awaited semi-final against the French giants were snapped up yesterday.
  • There are only two left and it's unlikely that it will take long before they are snapped up also.
buy eagerly, accept eagerly, jump at, take advantage of, grab, seize (on), grasp with both hands, pounce on



Example sentences
  • They are dark and snappingly crisp and efficient, the chocolate equivalent of an after-dinner mint.
  • The male and female members can be combined with each other by inserting the annular stud snappingly into the annular socket.
  • You will have a mouth-watering experience with their sushi made of carefully selected snappingly fresh fish, and the standard array of Japanese dishes such as udon, teriyaki-chicken and seaweed salad.


Late 15th century (in the senses 'make a sudden audible bite' and 'quick sharp biting sound'): probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German snappen 'seize'; partly imitative.

  • snack from Middle English:

    The early sense recorded was ‘snap, bite’, from Middle Dutch snac(k), from snacken ‘to bite’, a variant of snappen, source of late Middle English snap. Senses relating to food date from the late 17th century; use of the word to mean ‘light incidental meal’ dates from the mid 18th century. Since snatch (Middle English) originally meant ‘snap suddenly’ it is probably related.

Words that rhyme with snap

bap, cap, chap, clap, dap, entrap, enwrap, flap, frap, gap, giftwrap, hap, knap, lap, Lapp, map, nap, nappe, pap, rap, sap, schappe, scrap, slap, strap, tap, trap, wrap, yap, zap

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: snap

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There are 2 main definitions of snap in English:

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Pronunciation: /snap/


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a federal program providing people on low income with financial assistance to purchase food).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: SNAP

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