- any of several long-billed game birds of the genera Gallinago (Capella) and Limnocryptes, inhabiting marshy areas, as G. gallinago (common snipe), of Eurasia and North America, having barred and striped white, brown, and black plumage.
- any of several other long-billed birds, as some sandpipers.
- a shot, usually from a hidden position.
- to shoot or hunt snipe.
- to shoot at individuals as opportunity offers from a concealed or distant position: The enemy was sniping from the roofs.
- to attack a person or a person's work with petulant or snide criticism, especially anonymously or from a safe distance.
Origin of snipe
Examples from the Web for sniper
Eric Frein eluded Pennsylvania police for seven weeks after he allegedly killed a state trooper with a sniper shot.Killer Eric Frein Held in Murdered Cop’s Cuffs
October 31, 2014
On August 10, one of the three friends, Vadim, was shot in the face by a sniper in the Donetsk region.Bitter Survivors and Caravans of Coffins from Ukraine’s “Eastern Boiler”
September 14, 2014
As of this writing, the fate of the captured Ukrainian sniper remains unknown.A Torture Survivor on Ukraine's Tortured Ceasefire
September 11, 2014
The sniper barely missed, and Steven relayed the story as equal parts humorous and traumatic.Was U.S. Journalist Steven Sotloff a Marked Man?
September 2, 2014
Several times, young men approached police only to have red dots from sniper rifles painted onto their chests.'Go Ahead and Shoot Me': The Veteran Who Defied Ferguson's Cops
August 13, 2014
At the outset a German officer was said to have been struck by a sniper's bullet.
Then a German sniper with his gun climbed up on the platform.The Blot on the Kaiser's 'Scutcheon
Newell Dwight Hillis
He crept out to the ruins by the well, fished out the packet, and a sniper got him.The Rough Road
William John Locke
It is the sniper of naval warfare, but cannot give (p. 046) battle.
The Italian won the privilege of entering the crucifix to capture the sniper.The Fight for the Argonne
William Benjamin West
- a rifleman who fires from a concealed place, esp a military marksman who fires from cover usually at long ranges at individual enemy soldiers
- any of various birds of the genus Gallinago (or Capella) and related genera, such as G. gallinago (common or Wilson's snipe), of marshes and river banks, having a long straight bill: family Scolopacidae (sandpipers, etc), order Charadriiformes
- any of various similar related birds, such as certain sandpipers and curlews
- a shot, esp a gunshot, fired from a place of concealment
- (when intr, often foll by at) to attack (a person or persons) with a rifle from a place of concealment
- (intr often foll by at) to criticize adversely a person or persons from a position of security
- (intr) to hunt or shoot snipe
Word Origin and History for sniper
"sharpshooter; one who shoots from a hidden place," 1824, agent noun from snipe (v.). The birds were considered a challenging target for an expert shooter:
Snipe Shooting is a good trial of the gunner's skill, who often engages in this diversion, without the assistance of a dog of any kind; a steady pointer, however, is a good companion. ["Sportsman's Calendar," London, December 1818]
long-billed marsh bird, early 14c., from Old Norse -snipa in myrisnipa "moor snipe;" perhaps a common Germanic term (cf. Old Saxon sneppa, Middle Dutch snippe, Dutch snip, Old High German snepfa, German Schnepfe "snipe," Swedish snäppa "sandpiper"), perhaps originally "snipper." The Old English name was snite, which is of uncertain derivation. An opprobrious term (cf. guttersnipe) since c.1600.
"shoot from a hidden place," 1773 (among British soldiers in India), in reference to hunting snipe as game, from snipe (n.). Figurative use from 1892. Related: Sniped; sniping.