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Origin uncertain. Perhaps an alteration of Middle English snacche (a trap, snare), snacchen (to seize (prey), whence modern English snatch). Compare also Middle English snik snak (a sudden blow, snap). Alternatively, perhaps from a dialectal variant of sneak, from Middle English sniken, from Old English snīcan (to creep; crawl). More at sneak.


  • IPA(key): /snɪt͡ʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪtʃ


snitch (third-person singular simple present snitches, present participle snitching, simple past and past participle snitched)

  1. (slang, intransitive) To inform on, especially in betrayal of others.
  2. (slang, intransitive) To contact or cooperate with the police for any reason.
  3. (slang, dated, transitive) To steal, quickly and quietly.
    • 1939, P. G. Wodehouse, Uncle Fred in the Springtime:
      Besides, I shall require your help in snitching the pig. But I was forgetting. You are not abreast of that side of our activities, are you? Emsworth has a pig. The Duke wants it.


Derived terms[edit]



A Golden Snitch.

snitch (plural snitches)

  1. (slang) A thief.
  2. (slang) An informer, one who betrays their group.
  3. (slang, British) A nose.
    • 1897, W.S. Maugham, Liza of Lambeth, chapter 1:
      'Yah, I wouldn't git a second-'and dress at a pawnbroker's!'
      'Garn!' said Liza indignantly. 'I'll swipe yer over the snitch if yer talk ter me. [...] "
    • 1960, Barbara Wright (tr.), Zazie in the metro[1], Penguin Classics, translation of Zazie dans le métro by Raymond Queneau, published 2001, →ISBN, page 96:
      He added in conclusion that he strongly disliked the police coming and sticking its nose into his affairs and, since the horror which such actions inspired in him was not far from making him wish to vomit, he extracted from his pocket a silken square of the colour of the lilac flower (the one that isn’t white) but impregnated with Barbouze, the Fior perfume, and with it dabbed his snitch.
    • 1978, Brenda R. Silver, quoting Alan Bennett, Virginia Woolf icon[2], University of Chicago Press, published 1999, →ISBN, Take Seven: British Graffiti: Me ,I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Sammy And Rosie Get Laid, page 158:
      On one level clearly emblematic of her class status, “she’d have really looked down her snitch at me”), Virginia Woolf's nose, both Bennett and his audience would know, signifies as well the far more frightening power, the phallic power, attributed to women, strong women in particular.
    • 1994, Christine Marion Fraser, Noble Beginnings[3], HarperCollins, →ISBN, page 74:
      ‘Yes, I’m a witch! I wiggle my snitch![...]’
    • 1999 September 27, "billy", “Re: Babies Having Babies”, in[4] (Usenet):
      Bluenoze: Blow your nose to clear your snitch of whatever it is you've been snorting and read the postings again.
    • 1999 March 26, G Greenway, “Re: aah-cho!!”, in alt.gothic[5] (Usenet):
      Question: do benign bacteria live in one's snitch and keep the other, nastier ones at bay ?
    • 2001 July 27, catmandoo, “Re: Please help me to be 'correct'.”, in uk.local.isle-of-wight[6] (Usenet):
      Have a perpetual dew drop hanging from your snitch
  4. A tiny morsel.
    • 1963, Jack Schaefer, Monte Walsh, page 3:
      "He pays for the food you eat," said the woman.
      "Yeah," said the boy. "And I earn every snitch doing everything ever gets done around here."
  5. A ball used in the sport of Quidditch: the Golden Snitch.


Derived terms[edit]