an informal photograph, especially one taken quickly by a handheld camera.
Hunting. a quick shot taken without deliberate aim.
Informal. a brief appraisal, summary, or profile.

verb (used with or without object), snap·shot or snap·shot·ted, snap·shot·ting.

to photograph informally and quickly.

Origin of snapshot

1800–10 for def 2; 1860–65 for def 1; snap (in the sense “done suddenly or casually”) + shot1



verb (used with object), snap·shot, snap·shoot·ing.

to take a snapshot of (a subject).

Origin of snapshoot

back formation from snapshot Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for snapshot

photo, print

Examples from the Web for snapshot

Contemporary Examples of snapshot

Historical Examples of snapshot

  • I saw only a snapshot of her, which showed her to be beautiful.

  • Yes, she'd keep the snapshot of Stella, and remember what I said about the brother in Altoona.

    Torchy As A Pa

    Sewell Ford

  • And do you know, it takes a snapshot in a room even just as well as in the open air.

    The Arbiter

    Lady F. E. E. Bell

  • "How I would have loved to have had a snapshot of him," said Julie, sighing.

    Girl Scouts in the Adirondacks

    Lillian Elizabeth Roy

  • "You have not liked him since you found that he took that snapshot of me," she said whimsically.

    Hidden Gold

    Wilder Anthony

British Dictionary definitions for snapshot



an informal photograph taken with a simple cameraOften shortened to: snap
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 snapshot

also snap-shot, 1808, "a quick shot with a gun, without aim, at a fast-moving target," from snap + shot (n.). Photographic sense is attested from 1890. Figuratively, of something captured at a moment in time, from 1897.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper