• synonyms


[snaf-uh l]
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  1. Also called snaffle bit. a bit, usually jointed in the middle and without a curb, with a large ring at each end to which a rein and cheek strap are attached.
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verb (used with object), snaf·fled, snaf·fling.
  1. to put a snaffle on (a horse).
  2. to control with or as with a snaffle.
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Origin of snaffle1

1525–35; origin uncertain; compare Old Frisian snavel mouth, Dutch snavel, German Schnabel beak, bill


[snaf-uh l]
verb (used with object), snaf·fled, snaf·fling. British Informal.
  1. to appropriate for one's own use, especially by devious means; purloin; filch.
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Origin of snaffle2

First recorded in 1715–25; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for snaffle

Historical Examples

  • He rattled the snaffle in his mouth with nervous indecision—he had a notion to try it.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Only don't you go a-pullin' at her, ride her in the snaffle, and as light as you can.

    That Boy Of Norcott's

    Charles James Lever

  • That girl, madam, needs the curb, and you have been guiding her with the snaffle.'

    Hildegarde's Holiday

    Laura E. Richards

  • The horse must be ridden in a snaffle, as young Flixton could tell you.

  • It may be necessary for her to ride at this pace with a double bridle (curb and snaffle).

    The Horsewoman

    Alice M. Hayes

British Dictionary definitions for snaffle


  1. Also called: snaffle bit a simple jointed bit for a horse
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verb (tr)
  1. British informal to steal or take for oneself
  2. to equip or control with a snaffle
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Word Origin

C16: of uncertain origin; compare Old Frisian snavel mouth, Old High German snabul beak
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 snaffle


"simple bridle-bit," 1530s, of uncertain origin, perhaps from or related to Dutch snavel "beak, bill;" cf. German Schnabel "beak, face," Old English nebb, Old Norse neff "beak, nose" (see neb).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper