Definition of snail in English:



  • 1A mollusk with a single spiral shell into which the whole body can be withdrawn.

    • ‘These loose mats provide a sheltered and humid habitat for many mid shore animals, including shore crabs, littorinid snails, barnacles, mussels, young fish, lugworms and other invertebrates.’
    • ‘Lobsters are bottom-feeding predators and their diet consists of worms, mussels, snails and other small marine bottom-dwelling organisms.’
    • ‘As for cone snails, their shells are collected and sold by the thousands at curio shops to tourists.’
    • ‘For most species of snails, shells and body plans curl in only one direction.’
    • ‘The average shell strength of mud snails was twice that of Littorina, and three times that of Uca.’
    • ‘Ruddy kingfishers in the Philippines remove land snails from their shells by smashing them against stones on the forest floor.’
    • ‘The small body size of Pacific land snails has been considered indicative of the importance of aerial transport, with drift transport secondary.’
    • ‘The exotic mud snail, Batillaria attramentaria, is common in a few bays and estuaries at the northern extent of C. californica's range.’
    • ‘Many snails have an operculum, a horny plate that seals the opening when the snail's body is drawn into the shell.’
    • ‘Many larger animals (including snails, sand dollars, and fish) eat forams, and some are very selective about which species they eat.’
    • ‘Bluegills are carnivores, primarily eating invertebrates such as snails, worms, shrimp, aquatic insects, small crayfish, and zooplankton.’
    • ‘Slipper limpet snails are infesting Puget Sound, off the coast of Washington State.’
    • ‘Most of the more recent success stories involve snails, isopods, and other marine animals that have colonized leaf litter or remained in environments close to the seashore.’
    • ‘As gardeners already know, all other slugs and snails (or gastropod mollusks, to the experts) sport a soft and slimy foot.’
    • ‘The Quitobaquito spring snail is a tiny, 0.06 inch long aquatic snail that belongs to the Hydrobiidae family.’
    • ‘The cone shell is a marine snail that lives in tropical regions worldwide, including the waters around northeastern Australia's Great Barrier Reef.’
    • ‘Molluscicides destroy snails and slugs, which can be pests of agriculture or, in waterbodies, the vector of human diseases such as schistosomiasis.’
    • ‘Many predators will take a wide variety of prey, but some species of snakes feed exclusively on other snakes, others want only rodents, and still others concentrate on snails or scorpions.’
    • ‘Some snails, sea slugs, and worms embed embryos in gel, often in the form of thin strings or beautiful coiled ribbons that undulate gracefully in the current.’
    • ‘Large or small, landlubbers or seafarers or both, hermit crabs have one feature in common: they generally spend their lives inside the empty shells of snails or other mollusks.’
    1. 1.1 (in metaphorical use) any person or thing that moves exceedingly slowly.
      ‘a tedious and complicated process enough to exasperate a snail’
      • ‘Small stabbings of pain made him move at a snails pace.’
      • ‘But to keep the audience guessing the snails are designed to slow down and give away their lead.’
      • ‘Your internet connection is slow as a snail and your telephone makes buzzing noises.’
      • ‘The auto industry is a huge snail moving at its own slow pace day to day.’
      • ‘When this kicks in, the PC can slow to a snails ' pace.’
      • ‘A ship, slower than a snail, is crossing the sea.’
      • ‘They're snails when it comes to service. They don't greet you at all and it's just a rude place.’
      • ‘On a different front - gender equality has been moving at a snails pace in Namibia, which serves as a particular challenge for the incoming government to improve the situation.’
      • ‘Okay, he's a snail. He has to hustle to keep up as the pair walk down the street.’


Old English snæg(e)l, of Germanic origin; related to German Schnecke.