[snap-hans, -hahns]


an early flintlock mechanism for igniting a charge of gunpowder in a gun.

Origin of snaphaunce

1580–90; < Dutch snaphaan (or German Schnapphahn) orig., highwayman, equivalent to snap(pen) to snatch, snap + haan rooster (Dutch haan, German Hahn, parallel to cock1, mean both “rooster” and “hammer of a firearm”); source of final s unclear Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for snaphaunce

Historical Examples of snaphaunce

  • There were also matchlocks, snaphaunce pieces, pistols, swords and hangers (cutlasses).

  • The “snaphaunce” or fire-lock, is distinctly stated by Grose to be of Dutch origin,—hence the name.

    Gunnery in 1858

    William Greener

  • Textual remarks Page 12, snaphaunce is not a Dutch word; it is derived from the Dutch snaphaan.

    Gunnery in 1858

    William Greener

  • Cotgrave has arquebuse à fusil, "a snaphaunce," and explains fusil as "a fire-steele for a tinder-box."

  • I have a couple of wheel locks, to start with, and three miguelet-locks and an Italian snaphaunce.

    Murder in the Gunroom

    Henry Beam Piper