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[snach] /snætʃ/
verb (used without object)
to make a sudden effort to seize something, as with the hand; grab (usually followed by at).
verb (used with object)
to seize by a sudden or hasty grasp:
He snatched the old lady's purse and ran.
to take, get, secure, etc., suddenly or hastily.
to rescue or save by prompt action:
He snatched the baby from the fire.
Slang. to kidnap.
the act or an instance of snatching.
a sudden motion to seize something; grab:
He made a snatch as if to stop her.
a bit, scrap, or fragment of something:
snatches of conversation.
a brief spell of effort, activity, or any experience:
to work in snatches.
Nautical. a sheave or projecting member serving as a fairlead.
a brief period of time.
Slang. an act of kidnapping.
Slang: Vulgar. vulva; vagina.
Weightlifting. a lift in which the barbell is brought in a single motion from the floor to an arms-extended position overhead.
Compare clean and jerk.
Origin of snatch
1175-1225; Middle English snacche (noun), snacchen (v.) < ?; cognate with Middle Dutch snacken
Related forms
snatchable, adjective
snatcher, noun
snatchingly, adverb
outsnatch, verb (used with object)
unsnatched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for snatched
  • He also happened to be driving in a stolen vehicle, but whether he was the one who snatched it has yet to be determined.
  • Eggs caught in the receding waters of the tide are snatched up by crabs, eels and minnows.
  • We snatched a cold hoecake or leftover biscuit smeared with jelly and took off on our own adventures.
  • Ants do their best to avoid being snatched up as snacks.
  • Entry-level houses may be lying vacant while high-end homes are being snatched up by eager buyers.
  • The freedom of research must not be snatched or must not come with strings attached in the name of transparency and guidelines.
  • If he feels and he may have indeed a point that someone has snatched his work, he should stand up and say so.
  • As he snatched a card from a customer, a waiter flirtatiously called out that phrase.
  • And speaking of letting us, a final spell check coinage to celebrate has already been snatched away.
  • Even if you don't, if you came into an inheritance someday, that could be snatched away.
British Dictionary definitions for snatched


(transitive) to seize or grasp (something) suddenly or peremptorily: he snatched the chocolate out of my hand
(intransitive) usually foll by at. to seize or attempt to seize suddenly
(transitive) to take hurriedly: to snatch some sleep
(transitive) to remove suddenly: she snatched her hand away
(transitive) to gain, win, or rescue, esp narrowly: they snatched victory in the closing seconds
(transitive) (in weightlifting) to lift (a weight) with a snatch
(Austral, informal) snatch one's time, to leave a job, taking whatever pay is due
an act of snatching
a fragment or small incomplete part: snatches of conversation
a brief spell: snatches of time off
(weightlifting) a lift in which the weight is raised in one quick motion from the floor to an overhead position
(slang, mainly US) an act of kidnapping
(Brit, slang) a robbery: a diamond snatch
Derived Forms
snatcher, noun
Word Origin
C13 snacchen; related to Middle Dutch snakken to gasp, Old Norse snaka to sniff around
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
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Word Origin and History for snatched



early 13c., "make a sudden snap or bite" (at something), of uncertain origin; perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *snæccan or Middle Dutch snacken "to snatch, chatter." Cf. snack (n.). Meaning "lay hold of suddenly" is from early 14c.; especially "take from someone's hands" (1580s). Weight-lifting sense is attested from 1928. Related: Snatched; snatching.


c.1300, "a trap, snare," from snatch (v.). Meaning "a sudden grab" is from 1570s; that of "a small amount" is from 1590s. Sense in weight-lifting is from 1928. Vulgar slang sense of "vulva" is recorded from 1903; a much older venereal sense was "sexual intercourse quickly performed" (1580s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for snatched

snarf up

verb phrase

To eat; gobble; scarf: We can think of a lot of places we would like to eat chocolate, snarf down a few burgers, and gawk at shiny cars

[1968+; in early 1980s computer slang, defined in the Hacker'sDictonary as''tosnarf,sometimeswiththeconnotation of absorbing, processing, or understanding'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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