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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

To be completely impossible or incredibly unlikely; to have no chance whatsoever. Usually followed by "of." As a Democrat, you won't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning an election in this part of Texas. We don't have a chance in hell of catching up to their score.
See also: chance, have, hell, not

not have a snowball's chance in hell

To have absolutely no possibility of succeeding, coming to pass, or achieving something. You don't have a have a snowball's chance in hell of passing this class—you only came to it three times all semester!
See also: chance, have, hell, not

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

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

not a cat in hell's chance


not a snowball's chance in hell

COMMON If there is not a cat in hell's chance or not a snowball's chance in hell of someone doing something or of something happening, there is no chance at all that they will do it or it will happen. We haven't a cat in hell's chance of raising the money by the Friday deadline. Do you seriously think he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning this election? Note: You can also say that someone does not have a chance in hell of doing something. They don't have a chance in hell of privatising the economy. They have no idea how a free market works. Note: The original expression was `as much chance as a cat in hell without claws'.
See also: cat, chance, not


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.