• synonyms


verb (used with object), snipped, snip·ping.
  1. to cut with a small, quick stroke, or a succession of such strokes, with scissors or the like.
  2. to remove or cut off (something) by or as by cutting in this manner: to snip a rose.
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verb (used without object), snipped, snip·ping.
  1. to cut with small, quick strokes.
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  1. the act of snipping, as with scissors.
  2. a small cut made by snipping.
  3. a small piece snipped off.
  4. a small piece, bit, or amount of anything: a snip of food.
  5. Informal. a small or insignificant person.
  6. Informal. a presumptuous or impertinent person.
  7. snips, small, strong hand shears used by sheet metal workers.
  8. British Informal. a bargain.
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Origin of snip

1550–60; origin uncertain; compare Dutch, Low German snippen to snip, catch, clip
Related formsun·snipped, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for snips

Historical Examples

  • On the following morning I received a visit from Snips, my tailor.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 109, August 10, 1895


  • "Confound them snips of Aids," said he angrily, as he wiped the mud off.

  • Then these snips of boys on the police detail won't write the truth?

    The Night-Born

    Jack London

  • The question was needless, for the table was strewn with snips of calico.

    The Young Step-Mother

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • So when he asked me to go with him I cut every tie that bound me to my old life as one snips the withered leaves from a plant.


    Anton Checkov

British Dictionary definitions for snips


pl n
  1. a small pair of shears used for cutting sheet metalAlso called: tin snips
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verb snips, snipping or snipped
  1. to cut or clip with a small quick stroke or a succession of small quick strokes, esp with scissors or shears
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  1. the act of snipping
  2. the sound of scissors or shears closing
  3. Also called: snipping a small piece of anything, esp one that has been snipped off
  4. a small cut made by snipping
  5. mainly British an informal word for bargain
  6. informal something easily done; cinch
  7. US and Canadian informal a small or insignificant person or thing, esp an irritating or insolent one
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  1. (often reiterated) a representation of the sound of scissors or shears closing
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See also snips

Word Origin

C16: from Low German, Dutch snippen; related to Middle High German snipfen to snap the fingers
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 snips


"small, stout-handled shears for metal-working," 1846, from snip (v.).

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1550s, "small piece of cut-out cloth," probably from Dutch or Low German snippen "to snip, shred," of imitative origin. Meaning "cut made by scissors" is from 1590s. As a nickname or cant word for a tailor, 1590s. Snip-snap-snorum, the card game, is 1755, from Low German.

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"to cut at one light, quick stroke," 1580s, from snip (n.). Related: Snipped; snipping.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper