Word of the Day: snatch

Word of the Day
April 15, 2016
snatch (noun, verb)
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A robber is snatching a woman's purse.
To snatch means 'to grab something quickly and with a sudden movement,' usually in quite an eager way. It is also used figuratively, meaning 'to take or get something quickly.' Informally, it is also used as a synonym for kidnap. As a noun, a snatch is a sudden movement to grab something and the act of grabbing it. It is also a tiny piece or part of something or a short amount of time or effort.


Example sentences
The dog snatched the food from Neil's hand.
We managed to snatch a few moments alone so I could tell him my secret.
The parents were terrified when their child was snatched.
Tom held the sweets just out of the reach of his sister, who kept making snatches at them.
My neighbors are yelling at each other again; even though the walls are thick, I can still hear snatches of their argument.
I've been ill this week, but I've still managed to get some work done in snatches.


Multi-word forms
snatch something away: to remove something suddenly. Example: "Phil snatched his hand away from Molly's when she told him about her affair."
snatch victory from the jaws of defeat: to win something at the last minute. Example: "The team was trailing by 15 points with just 10 minutes to go, but they managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and went on to win the game!"
Did you know?
In UK English a snatch is also an informal term for a robbery. Example: "The thieves planned the wages snatch carefully and it went off with no problems." In the U.S. we use snatch with an object to talk about robberies. Example: "A robber snatched my wallet when I was on the subway." The term purse snatcher refers to a robber who steals someone's handbag.
Other forms
snatcher (noun), snatchable (adjective), snatchingly (adverb)
Snatch dates back to the late 12th or early 13th century and the noun comes from the Middle English word snacche, while the verb is from the Middle English word snacchen; it is a cognate with the Middle Dutch word snacken.
Snatch in other languages
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