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[snoop] /snup/ Informal.
verb (used without object)
to prowl or pry; go about in a sneaking, prying way.
an act or instance of snooping.
a person who snoops.
a private detective.
Origin of snoop
1825-35, Americanism; < Dutch snoepen to take and eat food on the sly
Related forms
snooper, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for snooper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The snooper was drifting aimlessly about, avoiding the parked vehicles.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • He sent the snooper ahead, tilting it to look down into the pit.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • Suddenly, one of them saw the snooper, gave a yell, and fired at it with a rifle.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • Duke: I 'd nudge him off the cliff—jest like he were a sneakin' snooper.

    Wappin' Wharf Charles S. Brooks
  • He pointed at the snooper screen, which gave a view of the plaza from directly above.

    Naudsonce H. Beam Piper
  • The snooper over the village reported excitement in the plaza.

    Naudsonce H. Beam Piper
  • The snooper went down toward them, and then he recognized them.

    Naudsonce H. Beam Piper
  • We feel, now, that the Jap snooper business late yesterday afternoon didn't do us any harm.

    Dave Dawson on Guadalcanal Robert Sydney Bowen
  • The snooper was also transmitting in, to another screen, from two hundred feet above the village.

    Naudsonce H. Beam Piper
British Dictionary definitions for snooper


a person who snoops
(Brit, informal) a person employed by the DSS to spy on claimants to make sure that they are not infringing the conditions of their eligibility for benefit


(intransitive; often foll by about or around) to pry into the private business of others
a person who pries into the business of others
an act or instance of snooping
Derived Forms
snoopy, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Dutch snoepen to eat furtively
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 snooper



1832, "to go around in a prying manner," American English, probably from Dutch snoepen "to pry," also "eat in secret, eat sweets, sneak," probably related to snappen "to bite, snatch" (see snap (v.)). Specific meaning "to pry into other people's business" is attested from 1921. Related: Snooped; snooping.



1891, "act of snooping," from snoop (v.). Meaning "one who snoops" is from 1929; meaning "detective" is from 1942. snooper "one who pries or peeps" is from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for snooper



A detective: Private snoop, hunh?

[ultimately fr Dutch snoepen, ''pry'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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