- any mollusk of the class Gastropoda, having a spirally coiled shell and a ventral muscular foot on which it slowly glides about.
- a slow or lazy person; sluggard.
- Machinery. a cam having the form of a spiral.
- Midwestern and Western U.S. a sweet roll in spiral form, especially a cinnamon roll or piece of Danish pastry.
Origin of snail
Related Wordsclam, abalone, snail, crustacean, mollusk, scallop, conch, crawfish, prawn, shrimp, lobster, mussel, oyster, straggler, idler, procrastinator, sluggard, slug, plodder, dawdler
Examples from the Web for snail
The Daily Pic: James Nares slows Manhattan's rat race to a snail's pace.New York on Quaaludes
April 23, 2013
I travel; but it seems to be like the snail, with my house upon my head.P.'s Correspondence (From "Mosses From An Old Manse")
We had made the first part of our journey at a snail's pace.In the Heart of Vosges
Cochleatus is from cochlea, a snail, from resembling its shell.The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise
M. E. Hard
I have eaten nothing,” replied the man, “since I ceased to be a snail.
Finally, in folk-lore the snail is an uncanny or demoniac being, because it has horns.Memoirs
Charles Godfrey Leland
- any of numerous terrestrial or freshwater gastropod molluscs with a spirally coiled shell, esp any of the family Helicidae, such as Helix aspersa (garden snail)
- any other gastropod with a spirally coiled shell, such as a whelk
- a slow-moving or lazy person or animal
Word Origin and History for snail
Old English snægl, from Proto-Germanic *snagila (cf. Old Saxon snegil, Old Norse snigill, Danish snegl, Swedish snigel, Middle High German snegel, dialectal German Schnegel, Old High German snecko, German Schnecke "snail"), from *snog-, variant of PIE root *sneg- "to crawl, creep; creeping thing" (see snake (n.)). The word essentially is a diminutive form of Old English snaca "snake," which literally means "creeping thing." Also formerly used of slugs. Symbolic of slowness since at least c.1000; snail's pace is attested from c.1400.