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Related to snail: Land snail
at a snail's pace
Very slowly (as a snail is known to move very slowly). My research is moving at a snail's pace—every experiment I've tried so far has failed. We'll never get there on time with you driving at a snail's pace!
Paper mail sent through the postal service (as opposed to email). Snails are thought of as very slow. A: "Did we get any exciting snail mail today?" B: "Nah, just some bills." Wait, you sent the invitations snail mail? Why didn't you just do e-vites?
at a snail's paceand at a snail's gallop
very slowly. Things are moving along at a snail's pace here, but we'll finish on time—have no fear. Poor old Wally is creeping at a snail's gallop because his car has a flat tire.
Ordinary postal service, as opposed to electronic communications. For example, He hasn't taken to his computer so he's still using snail mail. This slangy idiom, alluding to the alleged slowness of the snail, caught on at least partly for its rhyme. [1980s]
A very slow pace, as in They're making progress with testing the new vaccine, but at a snail's pace. [c. 1400]
at a snail's pace
COMMON If something is moving or happening at a snail's pace, it is moving or happening very slowly. The vote counting continues at a snail's pace but already clear results are emerging. The economy grew at a snail's pace in the first three months of this year. She was driving at a snail's pace, looking in every house. Note: You can also use snail's pace before a noun. Observers hope that the meeting will speed up two years of snail's-pace progress. Note: You usually use this expression when you think that it would be better if it went more quickly.
at a snail's paceextremely slowly.
at a ˈsnail’s pace(informal) very slowly: My grandmother drove the car at a snail’s pace.
ˈsnail mail(informal, humorous) used especially by people who use email on computers to describe the system of sending letters by ordinary mail: I’d love to hear from you, either by email or snail mail.
at a snail’s paceand at a snail’s gallop
mod. very slowly. Poor old Willy is creeping at a snail’s gallop because his car has a flat tire. The building project is coming along at a snail’s pace.
at a snail’s gallopverb
See also: gallop
n. post office mail; regular mail as opposed to electronic mail. (Refers to the slowness of regular mail in comparison to electronic mail or faxes.) There are lots of color pictures in the article, so I will send you the original by snail-mail.