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[snahyp] /snaɪp/
noun, plural snipes (especially collectively) snipe for 1, 2.
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.
verb (used without object), sniped, sniping.
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.
1275-1325; Middle English snype (noun) < Old Norse -snīpa (in mȳrisnīpa moor snipe); cognate with Norwegian snipa, Icelandic snīpa; compare Danish sneppe, German Schnepfe
Related forms
snipelike, adjective
sniper, noun
countersniper, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for snipe
  • Other birds fly faster than the great snipe, but for shorter distances.
  • In the blogosphere, entrenched partisans regularly snipe at each other with ill-mannered fury.
  • Perhaps then you'll appreciate the snipe at ed teachers and ed students.
  • Critics may snipe that there is nothing uniquely non-profit about these traits.
  • There is one lizard and two waders, namely, a snipe and curlew.
  • The candidates snipe at each other's records almost daily.
  • It doesn't need to be used to snipe, it can cause injury enough to knock someone out of a political race or a industrial position.
  • Pan has yet to express any views except to snipe and snark at various and sundry commenters, primarily right-wingers.
  • In outdoor-advertising lingo, a snipe is any piece that is added to an existing billboard, covering part of it.
  • Hunting for goose, duck, coot and common snipe hunting is also permitted.
British Dictionary definitions for snipe


noun (pl) snipe, snipes
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
(intransitive) often foll by at. to criticize adversely a person or persons from a position of security
(intransitive) to hunt or shoot snipe
Derived Forms
snipelike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse snīpa; related to Old High German snepfa Middle Dutch snippe
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 snipe
long-billed marsh bird, early 14c., from O.N. -snipa in myrisnipa "moor snipe;" perhaps a common Gmc. term (cf. O.S. sneppa, M.Du. snippe, Du. snip, O.H.G. snepfa, Ger. Schnepfe "snipe"). The O.E. name was snite, which is of uncertain derivation. An opprobrious term (cf. guttersnipe) since c.1600. The verb meaning "to shoot from a hidden place" is first attested 1773 (among British soldiers in India), in allusion to hunting snipe as game; sniper first attested 1824 in the sense of "sharpshooter."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for snipe


  1. A cigarette or cigar butt (1889+)
  2. An en-gine-room hand, aircraft mechanic, or other below-decks crew member: ''Snipes'' service and maintain their flying crews' birds (1920+ Navy)

[origin obscure, although apparently these, along with several other slang uses, both British and US, all refer somehow to the long-billed bird and its habits]

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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