1. A rough, sharp, or jagged protuberance, as:
a. A dead or partly dead tree that is still standing.
b. A tree or a part of a tree that is sunken in or protrudes above a body of water and is a danger to navigation.
c. A snaggletooth.
d. A short or imperfectly developed branch of a deer's antler.
2. A break, pull, or tear in fabric.
3. An unforeseen or hidden obstacle or difficulty: Our plans for the party have hit a snag.
v. snagged, snag·ging, snags
1. To tear, break, hinder, or destroy by or as if by a snag: snagged a stocking on a splinter.
2. Informal To catch or obtain quickly or unexpectedly: snagged a ground ball; snagged a bargain.
3. To free of snags: snagged the river.
4. To catch (a fish), especially by hooking in a place other than its mouth.
To be damaged by a snag: His sweater snagged on a tree branch.
[Of Scandinavian origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.