Etymology: Dutch or Low German snappen; akin to Middle High German snappen to snap
a. to make a sudden closing of the jaws ; seize something sharply with the mouth <fish snapping at the bait> b. to grasp at something eagerly ; make a pounce or snatch <snap at any chance> 2. to utter sharp biting words ; bark out irritable or peevish retorts 3. a. to break suddenly with a sharp sound <the twig snapped> b. to give way suddenly under strain 4. to make a sharp or crackling sound 5. to close or fit in place with an abrupt movement or sharp sound <the lock snapped shut> 6. a. to move briskly or sharply <snaps to attention> b. to undergo a sudden and rapid change (as from one condition to another) <snap out of it> <snapped awake> 7. sparkle, flash <eyes snapping with fury> transitive verb 1. to seize with or as if with a snap of the jaws 2. to take possession or advantage of suddenly or eagerly — usually used with up <shoppers snapping up bargains> 3. a. to retort to or interrupt curtly and irritably b. to utter curtly or abruptly 4. to break suddenly ; break short or in two 5. a. to cause to make a snapping sound <snap a whip> b. to put into or remove from a particular position by a sudden movement or with a sharp sound <snap the lock shut> 6. a. to project with a snap b. to put (a football) in play with a snap c. (1) to take photographically <snapping exclusive news pictures — Current Biography> (2) to take a snapshot of II. noun Date: 1555 1. an abrupt closing (as of the mouth in biting or of scissors in cutting) 2. a. archaic a share of profits or booty b. something that brings quick and easy profit or advantage c. something that is easy and presents no problems ; cinch 3. a small amount ; bit 4. a. an act or instance of seizing abruptly ; a sudden snatching at something b. a quick short movement <lithe snaps of its body — Barbara Taylor> c. a sudden sharp breaking 5. a. a sound made by snapping something <shut the book with a snap> b. a brief sharp and usually irritable speech or retort 6. a sudden spell of weather <a cold snap> 7. a catch or fastening that closes or locks with a click <the snap of a bracelet> 8. a flat brittle cookie — compare gingersnap 9. snapshot 10. a. the condition of being vigorous in body, mind, or spirit ; alertness, energy b. a pleasing vigorous quality 11. the act of a center's putting the football in play from its position on the ground by quickly passing it between his legs to a teammate (as a quarterback) standing behind him III. adverb Date: 1583 with a snap IV. adjective Date: 1739 1. done, made, or carried through suddenly or without deliberation <a snap judgment> 2. called or taken without prior warning <a snap election> 3. fastening with a snap <a snap lock> 4. unusually easy or simple <a snap course>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.