Definition of snipe in US English:



  • A wading bird of marshes and wet meadows, with brown camouflaged plumage, a long straight bill, and typically a drumming display flight.

    Gallinago and other genera, family Scolopacidae: several species, e.g. the common snipe (G. gallinago)

    • ‘Its flight and habits resemble a small snipe which a lot of people would be familiar with.’
    • ‘Rare bird species, including wading birds such as the curlew, lapwing and snipe, would also be reintroduced to the site under the plans.’
    • ‘Once common species such as the snipe, lapwing and curlew have seen declines of up to 73 per cent; birds like the twite, a moorland version of the linnet, are now gone from some parts of the park.’
    • ‘Five varieties of wading bird, including snipe and curlew, were also affected.’
    • ‘The animals eat the eggs of wading birds including dunlin, lapwing, redshank and snipe.’
    • ‘A female Marsh harrier was chasing a male painted snipe in flight.’
    • ‘The group has also managed the wet farmland so winter visitors include snipe, redshank, water rail and common sandpiper.’
    • ‘It also has contributed to the decrease of water fowl such as duck, geese, curlew, plover and snipe.’
    • ‘But with the help of his son and his father, he managed to find time to ensure his hectares became an ideal home for lapwings, redshanks, snipes and curlews.’
    • ‘The shocking results from the county are that no breeding pairs of curlew, lapwing, redshank, snipe or oystercatcher were recorded on the sites surveyed.’
    • ‘Two lakes nestle among the 35 acres, which attract an array of birds such as oystercatchers, ducks and snipes.’
    • ‘A new survey has revealed that populations of waders such as lapwing, curlew and snipe are thriving because land is being managed with their needs in mind.’
    • ‘There's heather on it and bullfinches, willow warblers and snipes.’
    • ‘Despite the snipe and the swamp sparrows, the bird of the outing was a rail.’
    • ‘We woke to the merry sound of oyster-catchers and curlews busily nesting in the marshes and tried to trace the haunting drum of snipe in flight.’
    • ‘The hills around him were teeming with wild birds as the snipe, woodcock, and blackbirds and this was the life he loved to study and watch.’
    • ‘Breeding birds include lapwing, snipe and redshank, all of which have declined nationally in recent years.’
    • ‘The smallest of snipes, the jack snipe has been declining in Norfolk in recent years.’
    • ‘During migration and winter, snipes can also be found in salt marshes, estuaries, and other mucky areas.’
    • ‘When I began birding three waders: lapwing, redshank and snipe were all common breeders in many areas of Norfolk.’


[no object]
  • 1Shoot at someone from a hiding place, especially accurately and at long range.

    ‘the soldiers in the trench sniped at us’
    • ‘We were warned going in last night that we would face being sniped at, shot at, and sure enough the Marines went along that route and we were hit last night.’
    • ‘A few miles away insurgents sniped at U.S. forces and clashes erupted across the city.’
    • ‘Thereupon the Russian army moved their headquarters to the far bank and proceeded to bombard, snipe and ambush the Germans throughout the ruined city.’
    • ‘For the rest of the day, my platoon was sniped at from here and there, and we had a few skirmishes.’
    • ‘Understanding him perfectly, they scrambled forward while their leader snipes the guard.’
    • ‘Alyssa hopped off the side of the truck and joined Andrew, crouching low, and sniped at the Greys.’
    • ‘If he wore a backpack, he should have been sniped at the entrance.’
    • ‘Fitted to a rifle, the system could also be used for medium range sniping.’
    • ‘He had been wounded the first day, had lain out in a field for two days and then crawled back to our lines, sniped at by the Germans.’
    • ‘The long range view is a great opportunity to snipe enemies from far away.’
    • ‘The ten warriors rushed down to where Sara stood sniping enemies, and began panting.’
    • ‘I prefer to play the sniper and you can't blame me for trying to find new spots to snipe from.’
    • ‘The levels contain marks showing the computer soldiers the best positions for hiding, sniping or ambushing.’
    • ‘A year later, Dole was covering a revolutionary uprising in Moscow when a young revolutionary leader was sniped in Red Square.’
    • ‘You can try and do something about a culture that produces physically, if not socially, grown men who think sniping at strangers is a reasonable way to spend a Wednesday evening.’
    • ‘‘You'll be sniped at’ the soldiers warn us when we insist on going in an hour before sunset.’
    • ‘This kind of operation is beyond the ambushes, sniping and grenade and bomb attacks we have been seeing, he says.’
    • ‘We use it for sniping only, we are not shooting in all directions.’
    • ‘Jennifer was sniping enemies with her bow and Erik was covering her.’
    fire, fire at, fire on, open fire, open fire at, open fire on, aim at, snipe at, let fly, let fly at, blaze away
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  • 2Make a sly or petty verbal attack.

    ‘the state governor constantly sniped at the president’
    • ‘But instead of bickering and sniping, the parties should unite behind the urgent task of saving Britain's tourist industry.’
    • ‘The Green Arrow is a bit crass and snipes at Batman a lot, but that's to be expected from a second-stringer superhero.’
    • ‘Now that's a good idea, that's what I should do rather than keep sniping from the sidelines.’
    • ‘Not that this will appease the critics, who continue to snipe.’
    • ‘California has been a target of Administration sniping ever since.’
    • ‘It would have been easy for me to give up and say I can't be bothered to be sniped at any more about wrinkly rockers and all of that.’
    • ‘Despite the unanimous vote, the bill did not clear the U.S. Congress without some partisan sniping.’
    • ‘Of course, he doesn't help matters by throwing a little hissy fit every time he gets sniped at.’
    • ‘Swarms of social conservatives and social liberals sniped at each other again and again.’
    • ‘All week the media of both nations had sniped at each other.’
    • ‘And that may explain why the elitists in those various fields keep working so hard to discredit and snipe at him.’
    • ‘Critics sniped that while his work was solid laboratory chemistry, others were responsible for the brilliant advances that made it possible.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, there were times when emotions surfaced, spurred by the sense of imminent danger, and even longtime allies sniped at each other in surprising ways.’
    • ‘"You are such a freaking girl," Elizabeth sniped back.’
    • ‘The prize - launched in 1981 - has also endured sniping from critics who claim it is no longer as important as it once was.’
    • ‘She had planned to give a grumbling apology for being late when he sniped at her incompetence, but she really did feel bad now.’
    • ‘There are zealots on all sides sniping at this agreement.’
    • ‘"Mom, you're not helping," Tara sniped back at her.’
    • ‘They bickered constantly and sniped at each other with abrasive, even caustic, jibes, but Drake made a valiant effort to stop himself short of physical violence.’
    • ‘But while his essays are rightly complimented, his novels remain undervalued, sniped at by academics and denigrated by the reactionaries who see any attempt to knock America's heroes down to size as an act of treachery.’
    denounce, condemn, criticize, censure, damn, attack, fulminate against, rail against, inveigh against, blame, carp at, cavil at, run down, pillory, rap, lambaste, deplore, disapprove of, vilify, execrate, revile
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  • 3(in an online auction) place a bid judged to be high enough to win an item just before the bidding is scheduled to close.

    ‘I regularly snipe 10 to 5 seconds before the end of eBay auctions’
    • ‘You can overcome this by sniping (bidding in the closing seconds) - and you don't even need to be in front of your computer when you do it.’
    • ‘Sniping has stripped auctions of much of their entertainment value.’
    • ‘While online bidders have long worried whether the item they're buying will arrive in the promised condition and sellers have wondered about being paid, these days they may also have to contend with "sniping," " bid shielding " and other bid manipulations.’
    • ‘Do you need to snipe? Is it worth the fee—or the precious time you'll spend sitting by the computer if you do it manually?’
    • ‘I snipe because my maximum bid is my maximum bid.’
    • ‘A bidder who ‘snipes’ is like a stock-market trader who ‘steps in front’ of investors by beating their price by a few pennies.’
    • ‘Two other bidders were sniping, too, but my bid would have been the last one.’
    • ‘As eBay veterans know, due to the phenomenon known as "sniping," the only bidding that matters in an online auction happens during the final moments.’
    • ‘Insiders admit that sniping does work in winning auctions.’
    • ‘My last gripe about eBay: sniping.’
    • ‘"Sniping" - withholding bids until the last moment - suppresses competition, says Hohner, a game theorist from New Jersey.’
    • ‘There is no possibility that users can snipe an auction at the last moment, because a few seconds are added to the clock with every new bid.’
    • ‘He found that with inexpensive, widely available items—like DVDs of recent movies—sniping doesn't really affect final prices.’
    • ‘Sniping is the main reason I don't bother with eBay anymore.’
    • ‘I didn't know all the tricks, and was outbid in the closing minute in a tactic known as ‘sniping’.’
    1. 3.1with object Outbid (another bidder in an online auction) just before the bidding is scheduled to close.
      ‘what is the point of sitting around for a seven-day auction when half the time you get sniped at the last second’
      • ‘Once you've been sniped, your chance of becoming a sniper is greatly increased.’
      • ‘I wasn't sniped: I just didn't bid high enough.’
      • ‘I bid $200, then some lady sniped me just as the auction ended with $205.’
      • ‘I got sniped again today, with 6 seconds to go.’
      • ‘Right until the very last minute, I had the high bid, at £11.50. And then I got sniped.’
      • ‘I was all set to buy my first Banksy and then I got sniped.’
      • ‘Yesterday I got sniped while trying to buy some Edwardian shoes on eBay.’
      • ‘You can only get sniped if you're not willing to pay what you think something is worth.’
      • ‘I'd been sniped. Someone, or rather their automated bidding software, had swooped in, in the last few seconds, and scooped the Zenith for only the least allowable increment over my bid.’
      • ‘I was about to cop a pair on eBay last night, but somebody sniped me at the last minute.’
      • ‘I promise not to stay up till 3.25 am to snipe a US bidder off a pair of yellow leather mod boots which are rightfully mine.’
      • ‘A couple of collectors always track the auctions he bids on, and have sniped him in the past.’


Middle English: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare with Icelandic mýrisnípa; obscurely related to Dutch snip and German Schnepfe.