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See also: Snape



Etymology 1[edit]

Origin obscure. Perhaps from snape, a dialectal variant of sneap (to nip, bite, pinch). More at sneap.


snape (third-person singular simple present snapes, present participle snaping, simple past and past participle snaped)

  1. (nautical, shipbuilding) To bevel the end of a timber to fit against an inclined surface.
    • 2000, William L. Crothers, The American-built Clipper Ship, 1850-1856, International Marine, page 265:
      It had to be accurately cut and trimmed, and its upper edge scored to suit the snaping of every beam end.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English snaipen (to injure; of sleet or snow: to nip; to criticize, rebuke, revile) [and other forms],[1] from Old Norse sneypa (to disgrace, dishonour; to outrage),[2] from Proto-Germanic *snupaną, *snubaną (to cut; to snap); further origin unknown. Doublet of sneap.


snape (third-person singular simple present snapes, present participle snaping, simple past and past participle snaped) (archaic or Britain, dialectal)

  1. (transitive)
    1. To check or curtail (the growth of something); also, to check or curtail the growth of (a plant, etc.).
    2. Synonym of sneap (to check or abruptly reprove (someone); to chide, to rebuke, to reprimand)
      • 1861, Terry A. Johnston, Him on One Side and Me on the Other, Univ. of South Carolina Press, p48, 1999 (quoting Alexander Campbell)
        The colnel (sic) I dont think like him much. I undirstand (sic) he was always snaping him.
  2. (intransitive) To chide, to rebuke, to reprimand.
    • 1871, John Esten Cooke, Out of the Foam:
      He saw nothing, heard nothing, rushed on, he knew not whither, snaping, and uttering hoarse cries.
    • 2001, Joan Raphael-Leff, Pregnancy: The Inside Story, Karnac Books, page 22
      I imagine her prodding my flab and snaping, "There's nothing there — get rid of that!"


  1. ^ snaipen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ snape, v.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021.


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old Norse sneypa (to outrage, dishonor, disgrace).


snape (third-person singular simple present snapeth, present participle snapende, snapynge, first-/third-person singular past indicative and past participle snaped)

  1. To injure; of snow or sleet: nip, afflict
    • Þe snawe snitered ful snart, þat snayped þe wylde. — Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, c1400
    • Ilke a barne in þe burgh all blaught is hys wedes Als any snappand snaw. — Wars of Alexander, 1500
  2. To rebuke; revile, criticize
    • Vte of desert þar he was in, He com to snaip þe king sinn. — Cursor Mundi, 1400
    • To Snape: corripere — Catholicon Anglicum, 1483

Related terms[edit]

  • snapli (sharply, bitingly; reproachfully)


Middle English Dictionary, snaipen, snaip, snape