Definition of snoop in US English:



[no object]informal
  • Investigate or look around furtively in an attempt to find out something, especially information about someone's private affairs.

    ‘your sister might find the ring if she goes snooping around’
    • ‘The idea of Government employees snooping through people's private records is one that will cause alarm.’
    • ‘Does this involve snooping around company dustbins, intercepting illicit cargoes in high-speed chases?’
    • ‘In the meantime, I suggest you stop snooping on what the neighbours are doing and tend to your own lives.’
    • ‘Rather than snooping around and trying to retrieve it I thought it would be best to just own up and ask if you've seen it.’
    • ‘After snooping round the house for a bit, we rode our bikes back to the hotel.’
    • ‘I catch her going through my drawers and backpack, and she snoops on my little brother even more, searching his room and listening to his phone conversations.’
    • ‘When there's a guy who breaks into my business and snoops around without my permission, it gets pretty important to me!’
    • ‘Protect your privacy and keep anyone from snooping into your information.’
    • ‘This is why she shouldn't be snooping in my private letters, for crying out loud!’
    • ‘It's when the media and the activists start snooping around that the problems start.’
    • ‘It's every parent's dream: a device for snooping on what teenagers get up to in the family car.’
    • ‘And if it does know an intrusion occurred, the victim company ordinarily won't know whether the hacker just snooped around a little, or actually managed to see a lot.’
    • ‘There's no telling what he'll do when he snoops around my house and finds out what's really going on.’
    • ‘I left it in the middle of his bed knowing that he would know I snooped to find it, but I didn't care.’
    • ‘Mom will probably look a little guilty and may admit she snooped.’
    • ‘One of his agents is Jack who snoops about and pinpoints dangerous but valuable potential crimes.’
    • ‘The idea of the state snooping into the affairs of private citizens is anathema in a country which takes individual liberties seriously.’
    • ‘While my sister was snooping in my room she spotted the Canada guide and asked if she could read it.’
    • ‘This feature is basically a game wherein the viewer can snoop around Eddie's office and find all kinds of information about the production of the film.’
    • ‘This isn't just a question of nosy politicians snooping on the citizens they are supposed to be representing.’
    pry, enquire impertinently, be inquisitive, be inquisitive about, enquire, do some detective work
    investigate, explore, ferret in, ferret about in, ferret around in, rummage in, search, delve into, peer into, prowl around, nose about, nose around, nose round, have a good look at
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  • 1A furtive investigation.

    ‘I could go back to her cottage and have another snoop’
    • ‘And if the neighbour dares to try and poke his nose in, pretending to wish me many happy returns when all he really wants is a good snoop around, he'll wish he hadn't.’
    search, nose, look, prowl, ferret, poke, exploration, investigation
    eavesdropper, pryer, interferer, meddler, busybody
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person who furtively tries to find out information about someone's private affairs.
      • ‘After a quick reprimand and warning that Santa doesn't like snoops, the matter was dropped.’
      • ‘She didn't care that he was one of the cutest boys she'd ever seen, he was a nosy snoop and that was it!’
      • ‘My mother was a great snoop, she'd call it ‘cleaning up’ and I'd come home from a weekend at my Dad's to find she'd rifled through my things.’
      • ‘That's when you catch the snoop in your rear-view mirror, methodically recording your license plate in a notepad.’
      • ‘The blond cheerleader narrowed her eyes and then ignored the snoop.’
      • ‘Those punish snoops who pry into someone else's private affairs, anyone who publicly discloses embarrassing private facts, and publicity that shows someone in a false light.’
      • ‘That's what I get for being a snoop, I guess - and for being so clumsy.’
      • ‘He knew he shouldn't look through it, and he wasn't a snoop at heart, but it was calling him.’
      • ‘I was about to open it, but I heard voices echoing up the stairs, and, not wanting to appear as a snoop, I rushed back into the living room.’
      • ‘What I am saying is that if our personal information - some of it extraordinarily sensitive - is archived in corporate or government databases and protected only by the weak shield of the law, it's vulnerable to federal snoops.’
      • ‘They could have been hiding photos and mementos of her somewhere, but I just wasn't born to be a snoop.’
      • ‘You think she was stalling so the snoop could finish her job?’
      • ‘I hope he doesn't think I'm some kind of snoop for touching it.’
      • ‘But while Congress wants to shield citizens against government snoops, it has no such qualms when private companies collect the data.’
      • ‘Hiring a professional snoop is a good way to find out.’
      • ‘Your personal matters and movements are supposed to be just that - personal, beyond the reach of either government or corporate snoops.’
      • ‘That way, dutiful snoops can see if any of the hundreds of alien detainees in custody have ever purchased a firearm.’
      • ‘And, as usual, the law is unlikely to catch the professional snoop.’
      • ‘You're saying he was basically just being a snoop, and that's all there is to this?’
      • ‘I had a feeling you would look, you little snoop.’


Mid 19th century: from Dutch snœpen ‘eat on the sly’.