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1. Literally, to bite at someone or something, usually without actually biting them or it. The dog started snapping at me, so I backed out of the yard.
2. To lash out at someone or something with a caustic, irritable comment or response. She snapped at me when I suggested that she should take a break to focus on her kids. I hate it when I snap at the kids like that, but sometimes they just push me to my breaking point!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
snap at someone or something
to bite at someone or something. (See also snap at someone; snap at something.) The dog snapped at my pants leg, but I escaped the attack unharmed. The fox snapped at the chicken and finally caught hold of it. The dog snapped at the judge and was disqualified.
snap at someone
to speak sharply or angrily to someone. (Based on snap at someone or something.) Don't snap at me. What did I do?' Why did you snap at me? I did nothing wrong.
snap at something
Fig. to seize an opportunity. (See also snap at someone or something.) It is such a good deal, I knew you would snap at it. Just as I thought, Ted snapped at my final offer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Speak irritably or abruptly to someone, as in This teacher was always snapping at the children. This use of snap transfers an animal's sudden bite at something to a verbal attack. [Late 1500s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To bring the jaws briskly together in an attempt to threaten or bite someone or something: The dog strained at its leash and snapped at us.
2. To make a sharp, often hostile or scolding remark to someone: The lifeguard snapped at the child for running near the pool.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.