a tree or part of a tree held fast in the bottom of a river, lake, etc., and forming an impediment or danger to navigation.
a short, projecting stump, as of a branch broken or cut off.
any sharp or rough projection.
a jagged hole, tear, pull, or run in a fabric, as caused by catching on a sharp projection.
any obstacle or impediment.
a stump of a tooth or a projecting tooth; snaggletooth.
verb (used with object), snagged, snagging.
to run or catch up on a snag.
to damage by so doing.
to obstruct or impede, as a snag does: He snagged all my efforts.
to grab; seize: to snag the last piece of pie.
verb (used without object), snagged, snagging.
to become entangled with some obstacle or hindrance.
to become tangled: This line snags every time I cast.
(of a boat) to strike a snag.
to form a snag.

1570–80; < Old Norse snagi point, projection

snaglike, adjective
unsnagged, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
snag (snæɡ)
1.  a difficulty or disadvantage: the snag is that I have nothing suitable to wear
2.  a sharp protuberance, such as a tree stump
3.  a small loop or hole in a fabric caused by a sharp object
4.  engineering a projection that brings to a stop a sliding or rotating component
5.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) a tree stump in a riverbed that is dangerous to navigation
6.  (US), (Canadian) a standing dead tree, esp one used as a perch by an eagle
7.  slang (Austral) (plural) sausages
vb , snags, snagging, snagged
8.  (tr) to hinder or impede
9.  (tr) to tear or catch (fabric)
10.  (intr) to develop a snag
11.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) (intr) (of a boat) to strike or be damaged by a snag
12.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) (tr) to clear (a stretch of water) of snags
13.  (US) (tr) to seize (an opportunity, benefit, etc)
[C16: of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse snaghyrndr sharp-pointed, Norwegian snage spike, Icelandic snagi peg]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1577, "stump of a tree, branch," of Scand. origin, cf. O.N. snagi "clothes peg," snaga "a kind of ax." The meaning "sharp or jagged projection" is first recorded 1586; that of "obstacle, impediment" is 1829. The verb meaning "to be caught on an impediment" is attested from 1807, from the noun. Originally
Amer.Eng., often of steamboats caught on branches and stumps lodged in riverbeds. The meaning "to catch, steal, pick up" is Amer.Eng. colloquial, attested from 1895. Snaggle-toothed "having crooked, projecting teeth" (1585) is from the same root.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

snag definition


The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see hit a snag.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Anglers are urged to report any sturgeon they catch or unintentionally snag.
The snag with all these ideas is that the data are not widely and quickly
It is unlawful to intentionally snag or attempt to snag any fish in fresh water.
They might snag on the overlying plate as the crust slides into the mantle,
  creating occasional bursts of tremors.
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