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snipe

[snahyp]
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noun, plural snipes, (especially collectively) snipe for 1, 2.
  1. any of several long-billed game birds of the genera Gallinago (Capella) and Limnocryptes, inhabiting marshy areas, as G. gallinago (common snipe), of Eurasia and North America, having barred and striped white, brown, and black plumage.
  2. any of several other long-billed birds, as some sandpipers.
  3. a shot, usually from a hidden position.
verb (used without object), sniped, snip·ing.
  1. to shoot or hunt snipe.
  2. to shoot at individuals as opportunity offers from a concealed or distant position: The enemy was sniping from the roofs.
  3. to attack a person or a person's work with petulant or snide criticism, especially anonymously or from a safe distance.

Origin of snipe

1275–1325; Middle English snype (noun) < Old Norse -snīpa (in mȳrisnīpa moor snipe); cognate with Norwegian snipa, Icelandic snīpa; compare Danish sneppe, German Schnepfe
Related formssnipe·like, adjectivesnip·er, nouncoun·ter·snip·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sniper

sniper

noun
  1. a rifleman who fires from a concealed place, esp a military marksman who fires from cover usually at long ranges at individual enemy soldiers

snipe

noun plural snipe or snipes
  1. any of various birds of the genus Gallinago (or Capella) and related genera, such as G. gallinago (common or Wilson's snipe), of marshes and river banks, having a long straight bill: family Scolopacidae (sandpipers, etc), order Charadriiformes
  2. any of various similar related birds, such as certain sandpipers and curlews
  3. a shot, esp a gunshot, fired from a place of concealment
verb
  1. (when intr, often foll by at) to attack (a person or persons) with a rifle from a place of concealment
  2. (intr often foll by at) to criticize adversely a person or persons from a position of security
  3. (intr) to hunt or shoot snipe
Derived Formssnipelike, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old Norse snīpa; related to Old High German snepfa Middle Dutch snippe
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

Word Origin and History for sniper

n.

"sharpshooter; one who shoots from a hidden place," 1824, agent noun from snipe (v.). The birds were considered a challenging target for an expert shooter:

Snipe Shooting is a good trial of the gunner's skill, who often engages in this diversion, without the assistance of a dog of any kind; a steady pointer, however, is a good companion. ["Sportsman's Calendar," London, December 1818]

snipe

n.

long-billed marsh bird, early 14c., from Old Norse -snipa in myrisnipa "moor snipe;" perhaps a common Germanic term (cf. Old Saxon sneppa, Middle Dutch snippe, Dutch snip, Old High German snepfa, German Schnepfe "snipe," Swedish snäppa "sandpiper"), perhaps originally "snipper." The Old English name was snite, which is of uncertain derivation. An opprobrious term (cf. guttersnipe) since c.1600.

snipe

v.

"shoot from a hidden place," 1773 (among British soldiers in India), in reference to hunting snipe as game, from snipe (n.). Figurative use from 1892. Related: Sniped; sniping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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