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[snee-ker] /ˈsni kər/
a high or low shoe, usually of fabric such as canvas, with a rubber or synthetic sole.
one who sneaks; a sneak.
Origin of sneaker
1590-1600; sneak + -er1
Can be confused
sneaker, snicker. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for sneakers


plural noun
(mainly US & Canadian) canvas shoes with rubber soles worn for sports or informally
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 sneakers



1590s, "one who sneaks," agent noun from sneak (v.). Meaning "rubber-soled shoe" is attested from 1895, American English; earlier sneak (1862), so called because the shoe was noiseless. See also plimsoll.

The night-officer is generally accustomed to wear a species of India-rubber shoes or goloshes on her feet. These are termed 'sneaks' by the women [of Brixton Prison]. ["Female Life in Prison," 1862]

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



  1. Elegant; smart and fashionable; clever and desirable; nifty, ritzy: mounted on snazzy mag-type wheels/ While they may appear snazzy now, time will take its toll (1932+)
  2. Gaudy and meretricious; hokey, jazzy: TV's wittiest, toughest, least snazzy news strip (1970s+)

[perhaps a blend of snappy and jazzy]

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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