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[sneyl] /sneɪl/
any mollusk of the class Gastropoda, having a spirally coiled shell and a ventral muscular foot on which it slowly glides about.
a slow or lazy person; sluggard.
Machinery. a cam having the form of a spiral.
Midwestern and Western U.S. a sweet roll in spiral form, especially a cinnamon roll or piece of Danish pastry.
Origin of snail
before 900; Middle English snail, snayl(e), Old English snegel; cognate with Low German snagel, German (dial.) Schnegel
Related forms
snaillike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for snail


any of numerous terrestrial or freshwater gastropod molluscs with a spirally coiled shell, esp any of the family Helicidae, such as Helix aspersa (garden snail)
any other gastropod with a spirally coiled shell, such as a whelk
a slow-moving or lazy person or animal
Derived Forms
snail-like, adjective
Word Origin
Old English snægl; related to Old Norse snigill, Old High German snecko
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for snail

Old English snægl, from Proto-Germanic *snagila (cf. Old Saxon snegil, Old Norse snigill, Danish snegl, Swedish snigel, Middle High German snegel, dialectal German Schnegel, Old High German snecko, German Schnecke "snail"), from *snog-, variant of PIE root *sneg- "to crawl, creep; creeping thing" (see snake (n.)). The word essentially is a diminutive form of Old English snaca "snake," which literally means "creeping thing." Also formerly used of slugs. Symbolic of slowness since at least c.1000; snail's pace is attested from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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