Try Our Apps


Petrichor: The smell after rainfall


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for snooping
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He's little, and he's mean, and snooping, and crooked as a dog's hind leg.

    A Certain Rich Man William Allen White
  • Don't want any of that gang to come and find us snooping around.

  • Here I've been snooping round for the last two hours, and got a line on nearly every one on board.

    The Trail of '98 Robert W. Service
  • A snooping neighbor had noted the license of the car that had taken him away.

    Cue for Quiet Thomas L. Sherred
  • Anyway, I heard they caught him snooping around the grounds of Chancellor last year and mighty near tore his shirt off.

    Full-Back Foster Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for snooping


(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for snooping



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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for snooping



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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for snoop

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for snooping

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for snooping