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[snawr-kuh l] /ˈsnɔr kəl/
Also called, British, snort. a device permitting a submarine to remain submerged for prolonged periods, consisting of tubes extended above the surface of the water to take in air for the diesel engine and for general ventilation and to discharge exhaust gases and foul air.
a hard rubber or plastic tube through which a swimmer can breathe while moving face down at or just below the surface of the water.
verb (used without object)
to engage in snorkeling.
Origin of snorkel
First recorded in 1940-45, snorkel is from the German word Schnorchel air intake
Related forms
snorkeler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for snorkel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was easy to agree on the type of face mask, snorkel, and fins.

  • The snorkel emerged and she blew it clear, then swam to the beach.

  • Rick led the way down the pier to the beach, carrying his mask, snorkel, and slippers.

    The Wailing Octopus Harold Leland Goodwin
  • He gripped the mouthpiece of his snorkel between his teeth, the rubber flange under his lips, and slid into the water.

    The Wailing Octopus Harold Leland Goodwin
  • Scotty pulled his mask into place and molded it to his face, then gripped his snorkel between his teeth.

    The Wailing Octopus Harold Leland Goodwin
  • He swam with face mask under, breathing through his snorkel and letting the camera hang.

    The Wailing Octopus Harold Leland Goodwin
British Dictionary definitions for snorkel


a device allowing a swimmer to breathe while face down on the surface of the water, consisting of a bent tube fitting into the mouth and projecting above the surface
(on a submarine) a retractable vertical device containing air-intake and exhaust pipes for the engines and general ventilation: its use permits extended periods of submergence at periscope depth
(military) a similar device on a tank, enabling it to cross shallow water obstacles
a type of parka or anorak with a hood that projects beyond the face
verb -kels, -kelling, -kelled (US) -kels, -keling, -keled
(intransitive) to swim with a snorkel
Word Origin
C20: from German Schnorchel; related to German schnarchen to snore
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 snorkel

1944, "airshaft for submarines," from German Schnorchel, from German navy slang Schnorchel "nose, snout," related to schnarchen "to snore" (see snore (n.)). So called from its resemblance to a nose and its noise when in use. The anglicized spelling first recorded 1949. The meaning "curved tube used by a swimmer to breathe under water" is first recorded 1951.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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