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1. To return to a normal state, condition, or position very quickly or abruptly. The seat snaps back into place when you release this switch. Doctors were surprised with how quickly my mom snapped back after her surgery.
2. To cause someone or something to return to a normal state, condition, or position very quickly or abruptly. A noun or pronoun can be used between "snap" and "back." Make sure to snap back your tray table before we begin our descent. The alarm snapped me back to consciousness.
3. To move or jerk backward very quickly, abruptly, or violently. Usually said of one's head or neck. Her head snapped back and hit the wall as she pulled away from me.
4. To move or jerk backward very quickly, abruptly, or violently. Usually said of one's head or neck. A noun or pronoun can be used between "snap" and "back." The impact snapped his neck back, and I thought for a second that he was dead.
5. To respond (to someone) in a caustic, irritable manner. All I did was ask a simple question, no need to snap back at me like that! "No, I don't want any of your crummy pasta," she snapped back.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
snap something back
to cause something to jerk back. The force of the crash snapped his head back and injured his neck. The crash snapped back his head.
snap back (on someone or something)
[for something] to be jerked back onto someone or something. The branch snapped back on Tim and left a welt on his arm. The whip snapped back and stung Tex's hand.
(at someone) to give a sharp or angry response to someone. The telephone operator, unlike in the good old days, snapped back at the caller. Please don't snap back. I've had a bad day.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Rebound from a setback, recover quickly, as in I think we'll snap back quickly from this business downturn. This idiom transfers the sudden release of tension on, for example, a branch to other kinds of recovery. [First half of 1900s]
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 recover quickly: The patient snapped back quickly after surgery.
2. To utter a sharp retort: I asked a simple question, but the clerk snapped back with a mean remark.
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.