- adjective illegal, counterfeit, dishonest or unacceptable. The word’s exact origins are obscure but it is related to the German schneiden (or its Dutch or Yiddish equivalent), meaning clip, and was used in the context both of coin-cutting and of cutting remarks. The former sense gives rise to the modern slang usage and the latter to the standard English meaning. Snide was first heard in Britain in the mid-19th century. Interestingly, young speakers have begun to revert to a Yiddish or Germanic pronunciation of the word as shnide.