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Probably related to snaffle, which may be from Dutch snavel.


  • (file)


snavel (third-person singular simple present snavels, present participle snavelling, simple past and past participle snavelled)

  1. To steal, to pickpocket.
    • 1902, Barbara Baynton, Bush Studies, 2009, Sydney University Press, page 59,
      Then he missed his silk handkerchief. “Ghost!” he said, breathing heavily. “Mag′s snavelled it! []
    • 1996, Lorene Ruymar, The Hawaiian Steel Guitar and Its Great Hawaiian Musicians, page 42,
      Billy May said he made his first electric guitars after talking to an American named Paul Bigsley, who claimed to be the inventor of the Tremolo Lever, which idea, according to Billy, was “snavelled” by Fender and improved upon.
  2. (Australia, New Zealand) To snatch.
    Paul tried to snavel Dan′s chair from under him.
    • 1915, New Zealand House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates, page 472,
      This was in his constituency, and he believed the idea was to go straight through the reserve eventually — that if they snavelled this piece now they would snavel more of this playground a little later on, and completely spoil the reserve.
    • 1986, Paul Radley, My Blue-Checker Corker and Me, page 26,
      These primitive merchants lost the Booradeela Timber Reserve when it was snavelled up even before the Depression by the Kincomba Building Combine with a wheedled government contract.



Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia nl


From Middle Dutch snavel, from Old Dutch *snaval, from Proto-Germanic *snabulaz.



snavel m (plural snavels, diminutive snaveltje n)

  1. beak
  2. (derogatory) mouth
    Hou je snavel! -- Shut your mouth!

Derived terms[edit]