Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To fish for eels by thrusting a baited hook into their hiding places.
  • transitive v. To catch (an eel) in this manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To catch an eel by thrusting a baited hook into its den.
  • v. Alternate spelling and pronunciation of snicker (corruption with giggle.) To chortle or chuckle.
  • v. To steal something of little value; diminutive corruption of snag + diminutive suffix.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To fish for eels by thrusting the baited hook into their holes or hiding places.
  • transitive v. To catch, as an eel, by sniggling; hence, to hook; to insnare.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A guttural, nasal, or granting laugh; a snicker: used in contempt.
  • To fish for eels by thrusting bait into their lurking-places: a method chiefly English.
  • To catch, as an eel, by pushing the bait into the hole where the eel is; hence, figuratively, to catch; snare; entrap.

Etymologies

From dialectal snig, a small eel, from Middle English snigge; probably akin to snegge, a snail, akin to Old English snægl, snail.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • All we have to go on is Sprint's word (* sniggle sniggle*) that it sold a lot of them.

    InformationWeek - All Stories And Blogs

  • Later, I found another tweeter saying that she had been sharing a power tower with me which led to a sniggle from another tweeter and wondering whether I was watching my name.

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  • I almost got a Thoreau book, but there was that sniggle of guilt poking me in the eye.

    Delayed Gratification « So Many Books

  • Sleep Paralysis Page Cross-cultural nightmare experience - aka The Hag.sniggle. net (the culture-jammer's encyclopaedia).

    Archive 2002-04-01

  • I walked in to ask if they were hiring and the owner and another employee behind the counter started to sniggle (I couldn't decide whether "snicker" or "giggle" was more appropriate).

    powerofrock Diary Entry

  • He did not rant; he did not cant; he did not whine; he did not sniggle; he just got up and spoke with the boldness of a man who was impressed with the truth of what he was saying, who has no fear of his enemies, and no dread of consequences.

    The Life of Charlotte Bronte

  • Everyone was too intent on the exhibits, or on trying new foods and drinks, or on laughing at the wandering thranx sniggle poets, to pay special attention to one roving human-thranx pair.

    Diuturnity's Dawn

  • Molly and Douglas did not like church; their fair heads were close together, and occasionally a faint sniggle would cause nurse to look round with stern reproval.

    Odd

  • A subdued sniggle followed this sally of wit, during which John took his seat with such native grace as he could command, which at the moment was not much.

    Jess

  • 'Wouldn't you indeed?' said Edgar quietly, in a nonchalant tone that made the younger lads bend down to sniggle behind their desks, while he moved on to the staircase.

    The Pillars of the House, V1

Comments

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  • Good grief! Here was this great word hanging around all these centuries and I didn't even know it!

    April 18, 2007

  • to fish for eels by thrusting a baited hook into their lurking places.

    April 18, 2007