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See also: Snell



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English snell (quick, fast) from Old English snel, snell (lively, quick) from Proto-Germanic *snellaz (active, swift, brisk). Akin to Old Saxon snel, snell (active, strenuous), Dutch snel, Old High German snel (whence German schnell (quick, swift), Yiddish שנעל (shnel, quick, swift), Italian snello (quick, nimble), Old French esnel, isnel (snell), and Occitan isnel, irnel (snell)), Old Norse snjallr (skilful, excellent) (whence Danish snild (clever)).


snell (comparative sneller, superlative snellest)

(now chiefly Scotland)

  1. Quick, smart; sharp, active, brisk or nimble; lively.
    • 1720 - Allan Ramsay, Edinburgh's Salutation to Lord Carnarvon.
      That in ilk action, wise and snell / You may shaw Manly fire.
    • 1852 - John Brown, "Rab and his Friends".
      That horny-handed, snell, peremptory little man.
    • 1889 - James Robertson, The Early Religion of Israel.
      Amos is a lithe, keen, snell man.
  2. Quick-witted; witty.
  3. Harsh; severe.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]



snell (plural snells)

  1. A short line of horsehair, gut, monofilament, etc., by which a fishhook or lure is attached to a longer (and usually heavier) line.
    • 1979, Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, Random House, p.194:
      He tied on new baited snells and recovered the current with the oars.
Related terms[edit]


snell (third-person singular simple present snells, present participle snelling, simple past and past participle snelled)

  1. To tie a hook to the end of a fishing line with a snell knot.
    Can you show me how to snell a hook?