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snowball effect

A situation in which the results or consequences of an action grow at an increasingly faster rate over time. Once the video game hit the market, word of mouth caused a snowball effect that made it the most popular and top grossing game of all time. She ignored her debt for so long that now, she's experiencing a snowball effect that threatens to crush her financially.
See also: effect, snowball

not have a snowball's chance in hell and not a hope in hell

Inf. a very poor chance. (Usually in the negative.) She doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting it done on time. I know I don't have a hope in hell, but I'll try anyway.
See also: and, chance, have, hell, hope, not

snowball into something

Fig. [for something] to become larger or more serious by growing like a snowball being rolled. This whole problem is snowballing into a crisis very rapidly. The argument soon snowballed into a full-blown riot.
See also: snowball

a snowball effect

a situation in which something increases in size or importance at a faster and faster rate The more successful you become, the more publicity you get and that publicity generates sales. It's a sort of snowball effect.
See also: effect, snowball

not have a snowball's chance in hell

to have no chance at all of achieving something (usually + of + doing sth) With those grades she hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of getting into college.
See also: chance, have, hell

snowball's chance in hell, a

No chance at all, as in He hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of getting there in two hours. This idiom, nearly always used negatively, alludes to the traditional view of hell as extremely hot, causing snow to melt at once. [Late 1800s]
See also: chance


1. n. deceitful talk; deception. All I heard for an hour was snow. Now, what’s the truth?
2. tv. to attempt to deceive someone. (see also snowed.) You can try to snow me if you want, but I’m onto your tricks.
3. and snowball and snowflakes and snow stuff n. a powdered or crystalline narcotic: morphine, heroin, or cocaine. (Now almost always the latter.) The price of snow stuff has come down a lot as South America exports more of it.


See snow


1. in. to grow at an increasing rate. (As a snowball rolling down a hill might increase in size.) Offers to help with money and prayers began to snowball, and we had to get volunteers to help answer the phones.
2. Go to snow.

snowball’s chance in hell

n. a very poor chance. (Usually in the negative.) She doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting it done on time.
See also: chance, hell
References in periodicals archive ?
Each snowball is coated with chocolate and covered with desiccated coconut.
The gravity of these large planets flung some snowballs deep into space and rocketed others to the inner solar system, toward Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury.
Tom got pelted in the face by billions of snowballs.
The defendant told the court: "As I entered Beeches Walk I saw some lads, about ten to 12 of them, throwing snowballs at the restaurant.
Officers believe the rise, during a period that saw the town blanketed in snow, can be accounted for by the number of calls to do with people throwing snowballs.
By studying the brains of dancing birds like Snowball, scientists may start to figure out the science of dancing.
CLEVELAND Police received more than 100 reports of anti-social behaviour involving snowballs in just one day.
To support the snowball theory, geologists have pointed to sedimentary evidence from the thawing periods.
Follow the directions for champagnecinnamon snowball sherbet; instead of cinnamon, use 2 teaspoons whole cardamom (pods removed), coarsely crushed.
Children and spouses who suffered the worst kind of loss will have something to smile about as the annual Snowball Express returns to Southern California, December 16 - 20, 2008, to honor the families of fallen military heroes who have been killed on active military duty since September 11, 2001.
11, nearly 1,800 children and spouses of fallen military will travel to Dallas/Fort Worth onboard American Airlines flights for the ninth annual Snowball Express weekend.
When it's a snowball, according to Revenue and Customs.
Chris Nicholaidis said: "Snowball fights are harmless, but throwing snowballs at car and bus windows is not.
DONATIONS to the Snowball Appeal are gratefully received, even if they are just a few pounds.