Word of the Day: Snarl

snarl / snarl


verb, sense 1


  1. to growl in a threatening manner, as a dog

That they may have a little peace, even the best dogs are compelled to snarl occasionally.

William Feather, 1889-1981


  1. to speak in a gruff, threatening way

We are accustomed to see men deride what they do no understand, and snarl at the good and beautiful because it lies beyond their sympathies.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832


verb, sense 2


  1. to cause to become tangled or knotted

If only there really was a door and you could walk through it into another life, where threads didn’t snarl, and stitches didn’t go all tight and tiny.

Karen Hancock, 1953-


  1. to make or render complicated

Rain and fog over the metropolitan area yesterday snarled airport operations.



noun, sense 1


  1. a sound like the growl of a dog

The monkey made a terrible sound, half snarl and half hiss.

From ‘The Bane Chronicles’ by Cassandra Clare, 1973-


noun, sense 2


  1. a tangle, as of thread or some other like material

You need someone to keep the threads untangled and forming a high-functioning web rather than a big snarl of a Gordian knot.

Rands, 1970-


  1. a confusing or complicated matter

The world wouldn’t be

In such a snarl

If Marx had been Groucho

Instead of Karl.
Sir Isaiah Berlin, 1909-1997


  1. a knot in wood

Sometimes a stick has a snarl or curl in it with the grain of the wood running in one way on one side of the snarl and in the opposite way on the other side of the snarl.

From ‘Camenzind v. Freeland Furniture Co.’, The Pacific Reporter, Volume 174