General English


  • noun a mollusc of the class Gastropoda. It is a pest which can be controlled by molluscicides.


  • Various edible gastropod molluscs of the genus Helix, found in the wild on land and in both fresh and seawater and sometimes cultivated. Prepared by starving for at least 24 hours, cleaning and boiling or frying for 5 minutes. The flesh is then removed from the shells, degutted and cooked as appropriate. Sometimes returned to the shell for service.

Origin & History of “snail”

Snail, like German dialect schnägel, Swedish snigel, and Danish snegl, comes from a prehistoric Germanic base *snag-, *sneg- ‘crawl’, which also produced German schnecke ‘snail’ and English snake. Lithuanian snāke ‘snail’ is a distant relative.