a device, often consisting of a noose, for capturing small game.
anything serving to entrap or entangle unawares; trap.
Surgery. a wire noose for removing tumors or the like by the roots or at the base.

verb (used with object), snared, snar·ing.

to catch with a snare; entangle.
to catch or involve by trickery or wile: to snare her into going.

Origin of snare

before 1100; Middle English (noun and v.); cognate with Old Norse snara, Middle Low German snare, Old High German snar(a)ha
Related formssnare·less, adjectivesnar·er, nounsnar·ing·ly, adverbun·snared, adjective

Synonyms for snare

1. See trap1. 2. net, seine.




one of the strings of gut or of tightly spiraled metal stretched across the skin of a snare drum.

Origin of snare

1680–90; < Middle Low German snare or Middle Dutch snaer string; replacing Old English snēr string of a musical instrument Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for snare

Contemporary Examples of snare

Historical Examples of snare

  • You are, indeed, fortunate in having escaped from the snare he laid for you.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • And when he saw I was not to be led, he endeavoured to drive me into the snare.

    The Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz, Complete

    Jean Francois Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz

  • Which does not mean, however, that they are far from the snare.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • It is a snare in which souls of average virtue often become entangled.

  • Let not his natural affections be as the snare of the fowler unto his feet.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for snare




a device for trapping birds or small animals, esp a flexible loop that is drawn tight around the prey
a surgical instrument for removing certain tumours, consisting of a wire loop that may be drawn tight around their base to sever or uproot them
anything that traps or entangles someone or something unawares

verb (tr)

to catch (birds or small animals) with a snare
to catch or trap in or as if in a snare; capture by trickery
Derived Formssnareless, adjectivesnarer, noun

Word Origin for snare

Old English sneare, from Old Norse snara; related to Old High German snaraha




music a set of gut strings wound with wire fitted against the lower drumhead of a snare drum. They produce a rattling sound when the drum is beatenSee snare drum

Word Origin for snare

C17: from Middle Dutch snaer or Middle Low German snare string; related to Gothic snōrjō basket
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 snare

"noose for catching animals," late Old English, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse snara "noose, snare," related to soenri "twisted rope," from Proto-Germanic *snarkho (cf. Middle Dutch snare, Dutch snaar, Old High German snare, German Schnur "noose, cord," Old English snear "a string, cord"). Figuratively from c.1300.


"string across a drum," 1680s, probably from Dutch snaar "string," from same source as snare (n.1). From 1938 as short for snare-drum (1873).


late 14c., "to ensnare," from snare (n.1). Related: Snared; snaring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

snare in Medicine




A surgical instrument with a wire loop controlled by a mechanism in the handle, used to remove growths, such as tumors and polyps.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.