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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English snacchen, snecchen, from Old English *snæċċan, from Proto-Germanic *snakkijaną, *snakkōną (to nibble, snort, chatter). Cognate with Dutch snakken (to sob, pant, long for), Low German snacken (to chatter), German schnacken (to chat), Norwegian snakke (to chat). Related to snack.


snatch (third-person singular simple present snatches, present participle snatching, simple past and past participle snatched)

  1. To grasp quickly.
    He snatched up the phone.
  2. To attempt to seize something suddenly; to catch.
    to snatch at a rope
  3. To take or seize hastily, abruptly, or without permission or ceremony.
    to snatch a kiss
    • Alexander Pope
      when half our knowledge we must snatch, not take
  4. To grasp and remove quickly.
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Chapter 2
      "How many times have I told you?" she cried, and seized him and snatched his stick away from him.
    • Thomson
      Snatch me to heaven.
    He snatched the letter out of the secretary's hand.
  5. To steal.
    Someone has just snatched my purse!
  6. (by extension) To take a victory at the last moment.
    • 2012 May 13, Alistair Magowan, “Sunderland 0-1 Man Utd”, in BBC Sport:
      But, with United fans in celebratory mood as it appeared their team might snatch glory, they faced an anxious wait as City equalised in stoppage time.
  7. To do something quickly due to limited time available.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
    He snatched a sandwich before catching the train.
    He snatched a glimpse of her while her mother had her back turned.
Derived terms[edit]


snatch (plural snatches)

  1. A quick grab or catch.
    The leftfielder makes a nice snatch to end the inning.
  2. (weightlifting) A competitive weightlifting event in which a barbell is lifted from the platform to locked arms overhead in a smooth continuous movement.
  3. A piece of some sound, usually music or conversation.
    I heard a snatch of Mozart as I passed the open window.
  4. (vulgar slang) A vulva.
    • 1962, Douglas Woolf, Wall to Wall,[1] Grove Press, page 83,
      Claude, is it true what they say about Olovia? Of course she’s getting a little old for us—what about Marilyum, did you try her snatch?
    • 1985, Jackie Collins, Lucky,[2] Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0671524933, page 150,
      Roughly Santino ripped the sheet from the bed, exposing all of her. She had blond hair on her snatch, which drove him crazy. He was partial to blondes.
    • 2008, Jim Craig, North to Disaster,[3] Bushak Press, ISBN 0961711213, page 178,
      [] You want me to ask Brandy to let you paint her naked body with all this gooey stuff to make a mold of her snatch?”

Etymology 2[edit]


snatch (plural snatches)

  1. The handle of a scythe; a snead.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for snatch in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)