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snowball

[snoh-bawl] /ˈsnoʊˌbɔl/
noun
1.
a ball of snow pressed or rolled together, as for throwing.
2.
any of several shrubs belonging to the genus Viburnum, of the honeysuckle family, having large clusters of white, sterile flowers.
3.
a confection of crushed ice, usually in the shape of a ball, which is flavored with fruit or other syrup and served in a paper cup.
4.
a scoop or ball of ice cream covered with shredded coconut and usually chocolate sauce.
verb (used with object)
5.
to throw snowballs at.
6.
to cause to grow or become larger, greater, more intense, etc., at an accelerating rate:
to snowball a small business into a great enterprise.
verb (used without object)
7.
to grow or become larger, greater, more intense, etc., at an accelerating rate.
Origin of snowball
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English (noun); see snow, ball1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for snowball
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Well, snowball couldn't help being somewhat disturbed by Mr. Crow's grave actions and his graver remarks.

  • snowball went to the village with Johnnie Green and his father!

  • The snowball is an English version of Oscar, ou le mari qui trompe sa femme.

    The English Stage Augustin Filon
  • For Johnnie Green was just then entering the doorway, with snowball at his heels.

  • Jeanne followed the black to the room which had been given her, and snowball proceeded to brush her hair.

    A Daughter of the Union Lucy Foster Madison
British Dictionary definitions for snowball

snowball

/ˈsnəʊˌbɔːl/
noun
1.
snow pressed into a ball for throwing, as in play
2.
a drink made of advocaat and lemonade
3.
(slang) a mixture of heroin and cocaine
4.
a dance started by one couple who separate and choose different partners. The process continues until all present are dancing
verb
5.
(intransitive) to increase rapidly in size, importance, etc: their woes have snowballed since last year
6.
(transitive) to throw snowballs at
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 snowball
n.

c.1400, from snow (n.) + ball (n.1). Cf. West Frisian sniebal, Middle Dutch sneubal, German Schneeball, Danish snebold. Expression snowball's chance (in hell) "no chance" is recorded by 1910.

v.

"to make snowballs," 1680s, from snowball (n.); sense of "to throw snowballs at" (someone) is from 1850. Meaning "to increase rapidly" is attested from 1929, though the image of a snowball increasing in size as it rolls along had been used since at least 1613, and a noun sense of "a pyramid scheme" is attested from 1892. Related: Snowballed; snowballing.

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

snowball

verb

  1. To increase rapidly: Soon the racket began to snowball (1929+)
  2. To dominate and crush; steamroller: He's less sensitive to people's feelings. He runs over them, snowballs them (1850+)

[first sense fr the fact that a snowball rolled downhill becomes larger and larger; second sense fr the notion of attacking someone with snowballs]

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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13
17
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