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’
    • ‘It's when the media and the activists start snooping around that the problems start.’
    • ‘I left it in the middle of his bed knowing that he would know I snooped to find it, but I didn't care.’
    • ‘The idea of the state snooping into the affairs of private citizens is anathema in a country which takes individual liberties seriously.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When there's a guy who breaks into my business and snoops around without my permission, it gets pretty important to me!’
    • ‘There's no telling what he'll do when he snoops around my house and finds out what's really going on.’
    • ‘After snooping round the house for a bit, we rode our bikes back to the hotel.’
    • ‘In the meantime, I suggest you stop snooping on what the neighbours are doing and tend to your own lives.’
    • ‘This is why she shouldn't be snooping in my private letters, for crying out loud!’
    • ‘Does this involve snooping around company dustbins, intercepting illicit cargoes in high-speed chases?’
    • ‘One of his agents is Jack who snoops about and pinpoints dangerous but valuable potential crimes.’
    • ‘Protect your privacy and keep anyone from snooping into your information.’
    • ‘It's every parent's dream: a device for snooping on what teenagers get up to in the family car.’
    • ‘The idea of Government employees snooping through people's private records is one that will cause alarm.’
    • ‘While my sister was snooping in my room she spotted the Canada guide and asked if she could read it.’
    • ‘Mom will probably look a little guilty and may admit she snooped.’
    • ‘This isn't just a question of nosy politicians snooping on the citizens they are supposed to be representing.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
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    1. 1.1 A person who furtively tries to find out information about someone's private affairs.
      • ‘You think she was stalling so the snoop could finish her job?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That's what I get for being a snoop, I guess - and for being so clumsy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I hope he doesn't think I'm some kind of snoop for touching it.’
      • ‘And, as usual, the law is unlikely to catch the professional snoop.’
      • ‘That way, dutiful snoops can see if any of the hundreds of alien detainees in custody have ever purchased a firearm.’
      • ‘Hiring a professional snoop is a good way to find out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They could have been hiding photos and mementos of her somewhere, but I just wasn't born to be a snoop.’
      • ‘I had a feeling you would look, you little snoop.’
      • ‘You're saying he was basically just being a snoop, and that's all there is to this?’
      • ‘That's when you catch the snoop in your rear-view mirror, methodically recording your license plate in a notepad.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘But while Congress wants to shield citizens against government snoops, it has no such qualms when private companies collect the data.’
      • ‘After a quick reprimand and warning that Santa doesn't like snoops, the matter was dropped.’
      • ‘The blond cheerleader narrowed her eyes and then ignored the snoop.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He knew he shouldn't look through it, and he wasn't a snoop at heart, but it was calling him.’
      • ‘Your personal matters and movements are supposed to be just that - personal, beyond the reach of either government or corporate snoops.’


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