Main definitions of snap in US English:

: snap1SNAP2



  • 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’
    • ‘A blade had snapped off a similar wind turbine in Wales and crashed to the ground and the authorities thought it prudent to carry out checks at other areas.’
    • ‘Often the animal may have signs of previously wearing a collar which has snapped off, or the collar may still be present but there is no name tag.’
    • ‘She sped away in her car; he snapped off the door handle trying to stop her.’
    • ‘As he jumped into the driver's seat, Anne grabbed the wing mirror, which snapped off in her hand, before holding on to the driver's side door handle.’
    • ‘A major section of the crane snapped off at a Dallinger Ltd construction site at the old Gasworks site on the Sunday morning.’
    • ‘He said debris left behind by the floods included 40 ft trees snapped off at the base and at least 40 carcases.’
    • ‘The winds got stronger and just after 9am the following day, the £10,000 mast snapped off and sank beneath the waves.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the icicles grew in size, and snapped off, careening into the two men.’
    • ‘Another claim for a pair of shoes was received after a woman caught the heel of her stiletto - which snapped off - in a car park drain.’
    • ‘During the performance of the famous Water Torture Cell act, the apparatus that held him upside down suddenly snapped and he broke his left ankle.’
    • ‘A second pillar at the entrance to the Grade I listed Parade House on Wicker Hill was damaged over the weekend when an apex stone, was snapped off.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mechanism is well protected by its case, though the carrying handle has snapped off since I last saw it.’
    • ‘Vandals sparked a major alert when they snapped off a pipe, letting 2,000 litres of diesel into a village stream.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He grabbed onto the car door, and suddenly, the door and mirror snapped off with it.’
    • ‘The type of damage being done to the cars ranges from wing mirrors being snapped off to glue being put in locks and tyres being slashed, with victims facing bills of hundreds of pounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dagger slid smoothly down the front of his tunic, each button snapped off easily until only one separated his bare chest from the cold dagger.’
    • ‘The vandalism he describes includes the Purton Road Bridge being covered in graffiti, benches all smashed up and removed, trees being snapped off by vandals.’
    break, break in two, break into two, fracture, splinter, separate, come apart, part, split, crack
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    1. 1.1no object Emit a sudden, sharp cracking sound.
      ‘banners snapping in the breeze’
      • ‘The sails of the boat snapped in the breeze and the couple turned to watch the white canvas sway against the backdrop of dark blue and lighter blue that composed the ocean and sky.’
      • ‘Pennons snapped in the breeze which was picking up with the beginning of the storm as they approached the tightly shut main gates.’
      • ‘A flag pole stood in front of the school with the American flag hung upon it, snapping in the breeze.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pennants snapped in the gusty wind, and the banners above her keep rippled in answer.’
      • ‘Once they had hauled out their gear, Alf Baker motored away, the flag on his little boat's bow snapping in the winter breeze.’
      • ‘From the top, a large metal tower protruded, replete with viewing platforms and a proud pennon snapping in the sea breeze.’
      • ‘Each was clad in their immaculate white Imperial Armor with light blue capes that snapped in a stiff breeze.’
      • ‘His long black trench-coat snapped in the breeze behind him while Llel fought to keep up.’
      • ‘The sudden crack of canvas snapping in the wind halted his endeavours.’
      • ‘The standard now unrolled, the material snapped in the brisk wind, royal blue and navy coloured thread embracing the silver King's crest.’
      • ‘The flag snapping in the breeze proudly bears the Lion Rampant.’
      • ‘The steel rib cage anchors an exterior surface that ripples and unfurls with the energy of a flag snapping in a brisk wind.’
      • ‘Outside, an American flag and the state banner, both still flying at full staff, snapped crisply in a cool, gusty wind.’
      crack, flick, click, crackle
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    2. 1.2with complement 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’
      • ‘Julian snapped his mouth shut and looked away quickly.’
      • ‘Paul Martin snapped his bag shut and gave his patient one last, long considering look.’
      • ‘I'm close to asking her before I snap my mouth shut, not asking her, knowing it had absolutely nothing to do with what has been going on.’
      • ‘But after a quick rummage through the brown leather bag, he snaps it shut and gestures to the door.’
      • ‘Risa fell quite upon his intent stare and Zaile followed suit, snapping his mouth shut to prevent further profanity.’
      • ‘My mouth opened and snapped shut again, and I pursed my lips, glaring at him through narrow eyes.’
      • ‘Zaile made to protest but snapped his mouth shut.’
      • ‘He was looking downward now, but, sensing the movement, his head snapped up.’
      • ‘They both snapped their mouths shut at the same time and it had taken me everything not to laugh.’
      • ‘Sam promptly snapped her mouth shut, unaware that it had been moving in the first place.’
      • ‘The boy snapped his mouth shut and nodded sullenly.’
      • ‘She started to say something, before finally snapping her mouth shut and spinning around on her heels.’
      • ‘My heart accelerated dramatically as I grabbed my bag and snapped the door shut.’
      • ‘Hildor's mouth snapped shut, but his eyes remained fastened on her.’
      • ‘Kevin just managed to snap his mouth shut then before he can say the last of the sentence…’
      • ‘Like lightning, the alligator opens its mouth and snaps it shut just as the log swings by, reducing it to splinters.’
      • ‘There was a click as the handcuffs snapped into place.’
      • ‘His mouth snapped shut, but not before some of the awful liquid found its way inside.’
      • ‘She opened her mouth, snapped in shut, and then shook her head.’
      • ‘He pulled the kitten out of my arms and lowered her into the bag gingerly, snapping it shut.’
      • ‘The bag snapped shut, his regular lab coat already over his black shirt and jeans.’
  • 2no object (of an animal) make a sudden audible bite.

    ‘a dog was snapping at his heels’
    • ‘Startled, she looked around for the blue dragon and saw it flying around and snapping at the insects around it.’
    • ‘The two animals disappeared behind the trees, but not before snapping at each other's necks before diving towards the castle.’
    • ‘Each time it snows again, the dog spins and barks, snapping at flakes, ploughing through drifts, as if this were the first snow she'd ever seen.’
    • ‘It is a horde of hungry hunters, moody and snapping at each other, carrying one of their number, her blood making them even hungrier.’
    • ‘They hunt by chasing their prey from behind snapping at their tail to demobilise them.’
    • ‘Wolves snapped and howled at Seye workers, who were running everywhere, and grabbing weapons from the guard towers.’
    • ‘Sadly the black dog that was snapping at my one remaining heel yesterday came back for a second bite this morning.’
    • ‘There were more wolves now, snapping at and pouncing upon the hawks.’
    • ‘It flails and writhes desperately, kicking and screaming, its razor-sharp teeth biting and snapping at the air around it.’
    • ‘A pack of wolves emerged snarling and snapping at their new found prey.’
    • ‘The dog was snapping at Marten, sending green foam all over him and the street.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are live crabs snapping at children, lobster tanks, and giant glass aquariums with huge fish floating sadly in limbo.’
    • ‘The snake snapped in their direction but still remained in his defensive coil, ready to strike, his tail now rattling incessantly.’
    bite, gnash its teeth
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  • 3no object Suddenly lose one's self-control.

    ‘she claims she snapped after years of violence’
    • ‘I snapped, finally losing patience and throwing the brush back into the bucket of hot, soapy water so hard it splashed the front of my uniform.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had pressed her mother until Joyce finally lost patience and snapped.’
    • ‘I snapped, fast losing any sense of restraint or reality.’
    • ‘I mean, the pressure's always going to be there, but some people take the pressure the wrong way and they snap, or they lose it.’
    • ‘I was almost positive that at any moment Michael was going to snap and lose his cool.’
    • ‘He said that it would not take much to make him snap, and lose control.’
    • ‘Still, other than the song I feel restless, irritated, lost and ready to snap at the slightest provocation.’
    • ‘I accept that on the fateful day you snapped and lost your self-control as a result of that build up.’
    • ‘Kyle snaps, losing his patience at the constant questioning.’
    • ‘Allan Compton, mitigating, said Carter did not intend using the knife but lost his temper and snapped under provocation.’
    • ‘But for whatever reason, he snapped and lost his temper that night.’
    lose one's self-control, crack, freak, freak out, get overwrought, go to pieces, get hysterical, get worked up, flare up
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    1. 3.1reporting verb Say something quickly and irritably.
      no object ‘McIllvanney snapped at her’
      with direct speech ‘“I really don't much care,” she snapped’
      • ‘Her tone was biting, snapping at me for interrupting.’
      • ‘They also snapped at him for supporting the new ruling majority in their wish to introduce restrictions for the reporters working in Parliament.’
      • ‘I snapped at anyone who spoke the words: ‘Have you got a minute?’’
      • ‘Unable to explain it, she snapped at him, ‘You mean you asked me to come out into this freezing Swiss weather just to tell me that?’’
      • ‘I had to bite my tongue from snapping at him that I already knew how to ride a horse.’
      • ‘The Carlyles had a miserable time quite visibly, often at odds, often snarling and snapping at one another in the presence of friends.’
      • ‘‘If people don't like what I'm doing, I don't give a damn,’ he snapped at reporters a few months back.’
      • ‘He could even presently tell she was biting her tongue to keep from snapping at him.’
      • ‘He snapped at a cameraman and looked decidedly grumpy.’
      • ‘I tried to not let it show but I'm a terrible actress, but today really tried my patience and I may have snapped at poor unsuspecting souls.’
      • ‘Andy clenched his jaw, snapping at a girl that tried to offer him drugs.’
      • ‘Moira snapped at her, startling everyone in the room.’
      • ‘He's not well himself and has just snapped at me for not immediately replying to something he said.’
      • ‘I snapped at him irritably, ignoring how my heart still bruised my ribcage with every beat.’
      • ‘But the media did what the media does: they kept peppering him with questions until, finally, he snapped at a reporter.’
      • ‘Father wasn't too happy with that, and he snapped at me, and at Mother, that I should have found someone of our own status, not lowered myself to be with the dregs of society.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was solidly built with short black hair and curiously red eyes, his physical strength was apparent, as was his short temper when he snapped at his brother.’
      • ‘I just snapped at my kids for no reason other than I felt like snapping.’
      • ‘In fact, she's already snapped at one Toronto daily reporter, who had the bad idea of opening their interview by asking Sevigny what she was thinking when she took on the role.’
      say roughly, speak roughly, say brusquely, speak brusquely, say nastily, speak nastily, say abruptly, speak abruptly, say angrily, speak angrily, bark, snarl, growl, fling, hurl
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  • 4with object Take a snapshot of.

    ‘he planned to spend the time snapping rare wildlife’
    no object ‘photographers were snapping away at her’
    • ‘The actress claims a paparazzo photographer used a telephoto lens to snap her when she was partly undressed in her home.’
    • ‘Taking her camera from her purse, she snapped three photographs of the sign and several more of the outside of the building.’
    • ‘Emaleth dug around her schoolbag, came up with a sleek little digital camera and snapped my picture before I could say a word.’
    • ‘Another student with an enthusiasm for photography, Elias, snaps pictures of his schoolmates.’
    • ‘Nadja had out a camera, and was snapping random pictures of a slightly frustrated Grey.’
    • ‘It's simple enough to snap a picture with a digital camera, download it to a PC, then e-mail it off to a news outlet.’
    • ‘Laughing heartily, Rob dropped the empty bottle on the end of Trent's bed and pulled a tiny digital camera from his pocket, snapping a few pictures.’
    • ‘He stopped at the top and focused his camera, snapping a few pictures of the landscape.’
    • ‘If a print was made close to when the photographer snapped the picture, it's considered more valuable than a print made years later.’
    • ‘Mark and Tommy flank her sides as photographers snap her picture frantically.’
    • ‘Ashton smiled and brought up a disposable camera, snapping a picture.’
    • ‘Ryan smiled widely into the camera as I snapped the picture.’
    • ‘Monica quickly changed the roll of film and snapped a couple of pictures.’
    • ‘He does news photography, he snaps celebrities and - the reason why I'm talking to him - he is also a glamour photographer.’
    • ‘When patients arrive for an operation at the Heartlands Hospital in the Midlands, they will be snapped with a digital camera and tagged with a transmitter.’
    • ‘I put on my longest lens and snapped them from a distance.’
    • ‘I turned into a Japanese tourist for a few hours and spent my time happily snapping away at different angles and the different details.’
    • ‘He used his cell phone camera to snap the picture of the cigarette.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He swallowed a gasp when he saw a small group of girls with cameras, snapping pictures of what appeared to be him and Faith.’
    photograph, get a photo of, get a photograph of, take a photo of, take a photograph of, take someone's photo, take someone's picture, get a picture of, take a picture of, picture, get a snap of, get a snapshot of, take a snap of, take a snapshot of, take, shoot, get a shot of, take a shot of, take a likeness of, record, film, capture on celluloid, capture on film, record on celluloid, record on film
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  • 5American Football
    with object Put (the ball) into play by a quick backward movement from the ground.

    • ‘The ball is snapped, and then a strong Oakland rush punctures the line and dumps K.C. QB Trent Green for a loss.’
    • ‘Our secret was to try to disguise our defenses so the quarterback didn't know what we were going to do until the ball was snapped.’
    • ‘A center not only is confronted with that, but he also must determine if blocking assignments need to change before he snaps the ball.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 6with 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’
    • ‘The sharp snap of the snare rang through the crisp air.’
    • ‘Suddenly, off to her right, she heard a twig snap with a sharp report.’
    • ‘My head whipped around as i heard the sound of a branch snap.’
    • ‘Behind them a snap sounded followed by a voice, ‘You people, what are you doing?’’
    • ‘I'm not, just a little bitter about how my life is so full of hardships, while she can just pass through life with just a snap of her perfect, slim fingers.’
    • ‘Suddenly there was a loud snap, which sounded through the basement, and Lizzie had stopped screaming.’
    • ‘With a sharp snap, she pulled the entire tree from its roots.’
    • ‘All of a sudden there was a loud snap behind Heather in the forest.’
    • ‘He stepped on a branch and one of the children whirled around at the sound of the snap, squealing in delight.’
    • ‘A cacophony of loud snaps and steps echoed through the forest, oftentimes followed by the loud blast of a rifle.’
    • ‘But when an immaculate black boot closed over a small stick at the corner, the snap echoed loud as a shout.’
    • ‘There was a click, a loud snap, then the door swung silently outwards.’
    • ‘And just how much valuable chocolate has been wasted with every snap of a block?’
    • ‘There was a sudden sharp snap and he turned to see Thomas holding up a limp Bomani, the jaguar's head hanging just a little too loose for normal.’
    • ‘Even further beyond that setting, behind the small tool shed, several loud snaps echoed through the air every few moments.’
    • ‘Two series of loud snaps and clicks were heard, and she fired again, this time with more accuracy.’
    • ‘Then came a small snap, sounding like someone stepped on a twig.’
    • ‘Keily heard a loud snap, like the sound of bones breaking as she flew through the air.’
    • ‘The paper made a loud snap as she turned to the next page.’
    • ‘There was a snap like the cracking of a whip, amplified several times, accompanied by a brilliant flash of deep-blue light.’
    click, crack, pop, clink, tick, report, smack, whack, crackle
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    1. 1.1 Vigor or liveliness of style or action; zest.
      ‘the snap of the dialogue’
      • ‘There was also some much needed snap and bite in midfield with the return of skipper Chris Brass alongside Richard Cooper.’
      • ‘The vocal tone of the group was lovely but there was no oomph, no snap, no crackle and definitely no pop.’
      • ‘Like a bowl of rice bubbles that only needs milk, this article only needs a reader for it to go snap, crackle, pop!’
      • ‘Though this resulted in lots of separation in dark tones, it lacked a certain snap.’
      • ‘DVDs counter a sluggish CD market by adding visual snap to the crackle of pop’
      dynamism, life, go, energy, spirit, vigour, vigorousness, liveliness, sparkle, vivacity, vitality, sprightliness, force, forcefulness, drive, strength, animation, verve, panache, elan, enthusiasm, exuberance, gusto, brio, zest, bite
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  • 2in singular A hurried, irritable tone or manner.

    ‘“I'm still waiting,” he said with a snap’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3A snapshot.

    • ‘It means one thing to carry, and the quality is easily good enough for printable holiday snaps, he says.’
    • ‘Well, that and a thought of ‘I really must buy a little digital camera, for snaps like that’.’
    • ‘There is nothing wrong with holiday snaps of friends and family smiling to camera, Mike 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.’
    • ‘The photograph enclosed was a holiday snap of a pretty blonde woman looking back over her shoulder on a river bank and laughing at the photographer.’
    • ‘Holiday snaps tend to be interesting mostly to those who partook of the holiday.’
    • ‘As an experiment, the other day I travelled around London taking snaps of the images I came across in the street and on public transport that showed men or women.’
    • ‘If only I'd had enough time to dash across the street and take a snap with my digital camera…’
    • ‘Now, he said, with a long career as a television lighting director behind him, he restricts his photography to family snaps.’
    • ‘They always send postcards and Frank has even received holiday snaps of them on location.’
    • ‘The pictures range from images of strikes, balloon take-offs and galas in Bradford to charming family snaps of weddings and holidays.’
    • ‘My holiday snaps are usually not up to Hockneys's standards and a fancy camera will just get nicked.’
    • ‘The boating lake was popular enough to have a queue for boats and photographers were inviting people to pose for holiday snaps.’
    • ‘Diana's personal snaps from holidays and key events in her life were contained in two albums that were found in Burrell's loft, said Mr Boyce.’
    • ‘One photograph was the famous snap of Lord Lucan, frozen in time with that cold-eyed stare and slicked-back hair glinting like liquid coal.’
    • ‘Other people's holiday snaps can be dull, but other people's family photos, if captioned amusingly, can be quite fun.’
    • ‘That would have a smaller camera resolution, probably only two megapixels - perfectly adequate for holiday snaps.’
    • ‘We could soon be taking snaps with our camera phone and transmitting those images to other phones, personal computers or laptops.’
    • ‘Again don't worry about the quality; it can be a passport photo or a holiday snap!’
    • ‘Okay, a few photographs added to the gallery section: some of the first shots taken with my digital camera, and snaps from a typical Saturday night out in Tokyo.’
    photograph, picture, photo, shot, snapshot, likeness, image, portrait, study, print, slide, transparency, negative, positive, plate, film, bromide, frame, exposure, still, proof, enprint, enlargement
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  • 4British 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.

    • ‘I recently taught them how to play snap, which was a revelation to them, but I decided yesterday with some of my older classes to teach them how to play 500.’
    • ‘To consolidate learning, children can make cards for a game of 'Snap', with one hand-drawn image and geographical term on each card.’
    • ‘A new pack of cards is set to revolutionise the way we play snap.’
    • ‘The school is also encouraging parents to introduce their children to cards games such as old maid, snap and bridge.’
  • 5a snapNorth American informal An easy task.

    ‘a control panel that makes operation a snap’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Controlling the king was a snap - much easier than controlling his strong willed daughter.’
    easy task, easy job, child's play, five-finger exercise, gift, walkover, nothing, sinecure, gravy train
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  • 6American Football
    A quick backward movement of the ball from the ground that begins a play.

    • ‘The Lions ended the game with rookie Dan Orlovsky behind center, but Orlovsky was the third quarterback to take snaps for Detroit.’
    • ‘That quick snap enables the pitcher to get more movement on his pitches.’
    • ‘DT Ron Edwards would be a good every-down player if he played with more intensity on every snap.’
    • ‘He has developed into a terrific blitzer, timing the snap perfectly and getting to the quarterback.’
    • ‘Kitna played every offensive snap and was the league's comeback player of the year.’
  • 7usually snapsNorth American A small fastener on clothing, engaged by pressing its two halves together.

    • ‘It has a buckle on it, not some flimsy snap, so it couldn't have come loose, either.’
    • ‘The custom-made cushions, covered with a durable outdoor fabric, are secured to the frame with snaps.’
    • ‘It has a front storm flap with zipper and hidden snaps, encased elastic cuffs and bottom hem, and bar-tacking at critical stress points.’
    • ‘It's made from soft cotton and features Western style pockets, pearl snap details, and Lurex stitching for a cool vintage look.’


  • attributive Done or taken on the spur of the moment, unexpectedly, or without notice.

    ‘a snap judgment’
    ‘he could call a snap election’
    • ‘The whole budget cut stunt was just a snap decision to save the Economic Forum.’
    • ‘Grace thought for a moment, before making her snap decision.’
    • ‘That's a snap judgment based on what little I've seen of him on the news, but it's one I can't shake.’
    • ‘There are no snap answers, and a style of counselling that is patronising and facile contributes nothing.’
    • ‘Clinton and his advisors were clearly taken aback by Barak's snap election decision.’
    • ‘A snap election right now, when no one but the Kremlin is ready, may be seen as the best way to avoid the dreaded revolution scenario.’
    • ‘But those heated emotions also make the immediate aftermath of such sad occasions the wrong time to rush into snap judgments we may later have cause to regret.’
    • ‘Ministers insisted they would not make snap decisions after the setback but the deputy prime minister is reportedly facing calls to resign.’
    • ‘Kingston Museum could not afford to bid, so the two societies made a snap decision to buy the works on its behalf for £120 each.’
    • ‘But when the opportunity presented itself, I had to make a snap decision.’
    • ‘DeFede made a snap decision to switch on his tape recorder.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His Worship asked me various questions, then said I was making very serious allegations and that he couldn't make a snap decision but would have to think about it.’
    • ‘That's my snap judgment after listening to him for about two minutes and not wanting to put up with any more slow-moving banalities.’
    • ‘Having deliberately created speculation about a snap election, Howard is now in a position to say that the only way to end the speculation is by holding one.’
    • ‘After making the snap decision to leave Bridlington, wreathed in torrential rain, we headed for Northumberland, a two-and-a-half hour drive away.’
    • ‘This forecast is not a partisan argument, nor is it an office-pool snap judgment based on a hasty reading of state polls of varying reliability.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Well, fortunately there's a wheel-balancing place nearby, and on a snap decision I headed straight there, just in case.’
    • ‘It proposes that you can make up your mind about something, and be invariably correct, in an instant; that snap judgment is often a more effective tool than detailed analysis.’
    unrehearsed, unprepared, unscripted, extempore, extemporized, improvised, improvisational, improvisatory, improvisatorial, spontaneous, unstudied, unpremeditated, unarranged, unplanned, on the spot, ad lib
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  • in a snap

    • informal In a moment; almost immediately.

      ‘gourmet-quality meals are ready in a snap’
      • ‘And it takes you to the company's Web page in a snap.’
      • ‘If he were looking for places to go, I could suggest one in a snap.’
      • ‘The problems are too complex to be fixed in a snap.’
      • ‘We admire their easy disposition - seeds germinate in a snap, and plants thrive on heat, don't require tons of water or fertilizer, and rarely need staking.’
      • ‘Her eyes opened in a snap and they dropped on Ian.’
      • ‘But it wasn't just a bump… this isn't one of those problems that you can just fix in a snap.’
      • ‘What other Democrat can raise their first $100 million 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She wasn't stupid; she'd figure out his feelings in a snap.’
      soon, very soon, in a second, in a minute, in a moment, in a trice, in a flash, shortly, any second, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, in an instant, in less than no time, in no time at all, in next to no time, before you know it, before long
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  • 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.

      • ‘He whispered a few words under his breath and snapped his fingers.’
      • ‘And you can't just snap your fingers and get a turnaround.’
      • ‘All he needed to do was snap his fingers.’
      • ‘Nick snapped his fingers in front of Margaret's face.’
      • ‘Nicolas suddenly snapped his fingers in front of my face, startling me back into reality.’
      • ‘His feeling is that this season has whizzed by, snapping his fingers for effect.’
      • ‘When he snaps his fingers, they heel to.’
      • ‘He calls me over, snapping his fingers.’
      • ‘Jahson snapped his fingers, thinking of an idea.’
      • ‘She snaps her fingers to get Snow's attention.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Tracks like these will earn more than a few cries of "Oh Snap!"’
      • ‘This failed to make any kind of impression so I fell back on the old favourite 'Making Funny Googly-eyes and Stupid Goo-noises Only to Have Someone Else Walk in the Room, Catch You Mid-goo and Administer a Derisive Burn'. Oh snap.’
      • ‘Said the spokesman, "We're ready, we're prepared and not very concerned because they've got a lot of catching up to do." Oh snap!’
      • ‘One of my more weak-livered buddies fell over as a result of booze, and oh snap what do we have here?’
      • ‘Just like the big bucks she failed to win at the Colonial! Oh snap!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So I saw her and I was like, "oh snap, it's that chick from the movie!"’
      • ‘Oh snap! I got dissed by the Elder Brother of the New York Media right out of the gate!’
      • ‘"Aren't you creating for the masses who perhaps don't fly so high?" Oh snap.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • snap out of

    • often in imperativeGet out of (a bad or unhappy mood) by a sudden effort.

      ‘come on, Fran—snap out of it!’
      • ‘‘Alright,’ she agreed, snapping out of her brief mood lapse.’
      • ‘Then all of a sudden Torrine seemed to snap out of his trance and turned back to staring melancholy at the twirling couples.’
      • ‘Maybe if they started up a conversation and tried to involve him, he'd snap out of whatever trance he was in.’
      • ‘Neil snapped out of his slightly angry mood and smiled at the tone of her voice.’
      • ‘Now, though, it is time to snap out of plum pudding-induced lethargy and get your neural circuits sparking again.’
      • ‘‘Oh,’ Matt said, snapping out of what thoughts he was thinking.’
      • ‘Ashley snaps out of her mood and answers, ‘Sometimes I guess.’’
      • ‘Jalg however, seemed to snap out of whatever daze he was in and began to taunt her.’
      • ‘Something that seems strange to other people: occasionally he raises his voice all of a sudden, without rhyme or reason, as if snapping out of a daydream, and announces that if any man knows Paris, inside and out, it's him!’
      • ‘Look, I'm making an effort to snap out of the epic sulk brought on by all this.’
      recover, recover control of oneself, regain control of oneself, recover control of one's emotions, regain control of one's emotions, recover one's composure, regain one's composure, recover one's calm, regain one's calm, recover one's self-control, regain one's self-control, get a grip on oneself, get a hold on oneself, take a grip on oneself, take a hold on oneself, pull oneself together, get over it, become one's old self, get better, cheer up, become cheerful, perk up
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘Such a chance to work with this most desirable of actresses would be snapped up by millions of men, so how can he delay even for a moment before accepting?’
      • ‘The interest shown so far has been magnificent, and we are very confident that the available properties will be snapped up quickly.’
      • ‘It's true that a few years ago when a castle came on the market at the right price it was snapped up very quickly.’
      • ‘I would expect that the 15 apartments would be snapped up quickly because all the mod cons are around it.’
      • ‘Tickets for the eagerly awaited semi-final against the French giants were snapped up yesterday.’
      • ‘He exhibited the tea set at the Knights Galleries International in Canada, where it was snapped up quickly.’
      • ‘There are only two left and it's unlikely that it will take long before they are snapped up also.’
      • ‘It can be difficult to find an apartment as they are snapped up very quickly.’
      • ‘Other much-coveted domains were snapped up quickly too, including mü, schrö, krü and jä’
      • ‘Collectors snap them up quickly if a one-off comes to light.’
      buy eagerly, buy quickly, jump at, accept eagerly, snatch at, take advantage of, grab, grab at, snatch, seize, seize on, grasp, grasp with both hands, pounce on, swoop down on
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘There was a pounding at the front door, and Dizzy quickly snapped back to reality.’
      • ‘Shaking her head quickly, and snapping back into reality, she reverted her attention back at her opponent.’
      • ‘The falls of the past two-and-a-half years have been too savage and prolonged for confidence to snap back quickly, even if the economy were to pick up.’
      • ‘At the thought of battle, she quickly snapped back to reality and pushed the glass away.’
      • ‘I snap back to reality and try the machines in the student computer cluster.’
      • ‘Quickly he snaps back into reality recognizing he is not asking for his bride's hand in marriage, but burying her.’
      • ‘December shook her head and snapped back to reality as the bell rang to let fifth period end.’
      • ‘Slowly, Rae came around, shaking her head quickly and snapping back to reality.’


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.




Main definitions of snap in US English:

: snap1SNAP2


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