snail

[ sneyl ]
/ sneɪl /

noun

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.

Nearby words

  1. snafu,
  2. snag,
  3. snaggle-toothed,
  4. snaggletooth,
  5. snaggy,
  6. snail bore,
  7. snail cam,
  8. snail darter,
  9. snail fever,
  10. snail kite

Origin of snail

before 900; Middle English snail, snayl(e), Old English snegel; cognate with Low German snagel, German (dial.) Schnegel

Related formssnail·like, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for snail


British Dictionary definitions for snail

snail

/ (sneɪl) /

noun

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
Derived Formssnail-like, adjective

Word Origin for snail

Old English snægl; related to Old Norse snigill, Old High German snecko

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 snail

snail

n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper