1. <zoology> Any one of numerous species of terrestrial air-breathing gastropods belonging to the genus Helix and many allied genera of the family Helicidae. They are abundant in nearly all parts of the world except the arctic regions, and feed almost entirely on vegetation. Most have an enclosing spiral shell.

A land snail. Any gastropod having a general resemblance to the true snails, including fresh water and marine species.

See: pond snail, sea snail.

2. Hence, a drone; a slow-moving person or thing.

3. <mechanics> A spiral cam, or a flat piece of metal of spirally curved outline, used for giving motion to, or changing the position of, another part, as the hammer tail of a striking clock.

4. A tortoise; in ancient warfare, a movable roof or shed to protect besiegers; a testudo. "They had also all manner of gynes [engines] . . . That needful is [in] taking or sieging of castle or of city, as snails, that was naught else but hollow pavises and targets, under the which men, when they fought, were heled [protected], . . . As the snail is in his house; therefore they cleped them snails." (Vegetius (Trans))

5. <botany> The pod of the sanil clover. Ear snail, Edible snail, Pond snail, etc.

<zoology> Snail borer, a boring univalve mollusk; a drill.

<botany> Snail clover See Snail clover, above.

Origin: OE. Snaile, AS. Sngel, snegel, sngl; akin to G. Schnecke, OHG. Snecko, Dan. Snegl, Icel. Snigill.

(01 Mar 1998)

snaf, SNAFU principle, snag, snag < Prev | Next > snail fever, snailfish, snail mail

Bookmark with: icon icon icon icon iconword visualiser Go and visit our forums Community Forums