[ snag ]
See synonyms for: snagsnaggedsnagging on

  1. a tree or part of a tree held fast in the bottom of a river, lake, etc., and forming an impediment or danger to navigation.

  2. a short, projecting stump, as of a branch broken or cut off.

  1. any sharp or rough projection.

  2. a jagged hole, tear, pull, or run in a fabric, as caused by catching on a sharp projection.

  3. any obstacle or impediment.

  4. a stump of a tooth or a projecting tooth; snaggletooth.

verb (used with object),snagged, snag·ging.
  1. to run or catch up on a snag.

  2. to damage by so doing.

  1. to obstruct or impede, as a snag does: He snagged all my efforts.

  2. to grab; seize: to snag the last piece of pie.

verb (used without object),snagged, snag·ging.
  1. to become entangled with some obstacle or hindrance.

  2. to become tangled: This line snags every time I cast.

  1. (of a boat) to strike a snag.

  2. to form a snag.

Origin of snag

First recorded in 1570–80, snag is from the Old Norse word snagi point, projection

Other words from snag

  • snaglike, adjective
  • un·snagged, adjective

Words Nearby snag Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use snag in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for snag


/ (snæɡ) /

  1. a difficulty or disadvantage: the snag is that I have nothing suitable to wear

  2. a sharp protuberance, such as a tree stump

  1. a small loop or hole in a fabric caused by a sharp object

  2. engineering a projection that brings to a stop a sliding or rotating component

  3. mainly US and Canadian a tree stump in a riverbed that is dangerous to navigation

  4. US and Canadian a standing dead tree, esp one used as a perch by an eagle

  5. (plural) Australian slang sausages

verbsnags, snagging or snagged
  1. (tr) to hinder or impede

  2. (tr) to tear or catch (fabric)

  1. (intr) to develop a snag

  2. (intr) mainly US and Canadian (of a boat) to strike or be damaged by a snag

  3. (tr) mainly US and Canadian to clear (a stretch of water) of snags

  4. (tr) US to seize (an opportunity, benefit, etc)

Origin of snag

C16: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse snaghyrndr sharp-pointed, Norwegian snage spike, Icelandic snagi peg

Derived forms of snag

  • snaglike, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with snag


see hit a snag.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.