Green’s Dictionary of Slang

snatch n.

[Yorks. dial.; ult. SE snatch, to grab]

1. in sexual contexts.

(a) sexual intercourse, esp. quick or illicit or with a prostitute.

[UK]J. Bale Comedye Concernyng Three Lawes (1550) Act IV: Yea, poore marryed men, haue very much a do, I counte hym wysest, that can take a snatche and to go.
[UK]Greene Quip for an Upstart Courtier E2: What bawdrie is it he will not suffer for he may haue mony and good chere, if he like the wench wel a snatch himselfe for they knowe all the whores in a country.
[UK]R. Burton Anatomy of Melancholy (1850) 558: I could not abide marriage, but as a rambler [...] I took a snatch where I could get it; nay more, I railed at marriage downright.
[UK]R. Brome Eng. Moor IV iv: If I do chance to clap your Barbary buttock / In all her bravery, and get a snatch / In an odd corner, or the dark.
[UK](con. 1940s) G. Morrill Dark Sea Running 119: ‘Let’s get some snatch,’ he said.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 114: I hope my double hasn’t put the muscle on this broad for some ‘snatch’.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 13: I don’t dig no bought snatch.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 180: Hot pants here’s after a bit of stray snatch.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 42: All actresses are snatch-peddlers.

(b) (also snatchbox) the vagina [negative image].

‘Roger Ranger’ Covent Garden Jester 19: ‘Last night, in the dark, I run’d my nose into that there snatch, sir,’ replied the tailor, pointing towards Lucy, ‘’twas that caulked up my daylights, sir.’ [...] ‘Damn the scoundrel,’ whispered I to Lapboard, ‘If I had him ashore I’d learn the villain to say he run his nose into my daughter’s snatch.’.
[UK] ‘We Men Such Funny Things Have Got’ Frisky Vocalist 11: And if we’re game, / When we take aim, / Why, into Miss Snatch we tumble!
in Jrnl Hist. Sexuality (July 2002) 445: [He was] cracking jokes from the Dingy’s [sic] stern sheets on ‘sailors’ knives and whores’ snatches’.
[UK]‘Experiences of a Cunt Philosopher’ in Randiana 108: Her lovely rosebud of a snatchbox.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]‘In the Black Berry Patch’ in Bawdy N.Y. State MS. n.p.: When he offered me a quarter to look at my snatch.
[UK]‘Ramrod’ Nocturnal Meeting 21: ‘The odour of man [...] is just as enticing to a randy woman as the scent of her snatch to her lover’.
[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana I 10: Ef dat ain’t de mos’ considerinist wife. Look at dat boy; sends me a hair right off ’er snatch. Hot dawg!
[US] (ref. to 1868) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 76: She could pick up coins the guests put on the edge of a table with her snatch.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 48: In yer mother-in-law’s icebox it’s a schooner! [...] Yer mother-in-law’s snatch!
[US]A. Ginsberg ‘Howl’ Howl and Other Poems 12: Who sweetened the snatches of a million girls.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 58: Rosie [...] ran back to the kitchen when Harry lunged for her snatch.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 105: The girl would have to stand on her head, and he would have to lower himself into her snatch.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 113: Some getting their oats before their time / by dint of threat / in lonely fields / dragged their by snatch-crazed fiends.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 178: A female mannequin covered by a tarp – plasterboard, rubber lips, glued on pubic hair, a snatch made from a garden hose.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 196: He felt like sinking one of the R.M. Williams in the next white shoette’s snatch.
[US] ‘The Cooter Monologues’ at 20 Jan. [Internet] Snatch. Snatch just sounds horribly vulgar. Especially the phrase ‘bleeding snatch.’.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 9: She flashed her snatch at him at some movie-biz party.
[UK]I. Welsh Decent Ride 33: Ah’d huv had that fuckin tube up baith thair snatches and been suckin like a double-teaming Calton Hill bustie till ah tasted claret.
[US]C.D. Rosales Word Is Bone [ebook] ‘You the reason I went back to snatch, Junie. Men like you and Spanky. You all make a fag see something special about pussy’.

(c) a woman.

[Aus]Mess Songs and Rhymes of the RAAF 1939-1945 5: Abdul did ride with some snatch by his side, / His face was all flushed with desire.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 656: You must of really line yourself up quite a deal with that snatch down town.
[UK](con. WWII) G. Sire Deathmakers 194: If I hadn’t promised my old lady I wouldn’t knock over any other snatch, I’d sure as hell find out tonight what a golden lay is like.
‘Hogbotle and ffuckes’ Snatches and Lays (1973) 72: The ram he fetched made our arseholes stretch / Like an old gin’s snatch when you squeeze 'er, / My penmate strained with his shirt all stained / And his arse went off like a greener.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 186–7: We downed a bottle and picked up a couple of octoroon snatch.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 84: If this picture-taking snatch wants to be an asshole and work the bushes for us [...] she can be my fucking guest.
[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 91: That snatch that’d fuck a flashlight if there was nothing else handy.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 190: First snatch looks your way, you bust up the deal.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 218: Joe’s got himelf some nice snatch there, huh?

(d) a collective term for women in general, as viewed as the route to sexual intercourse.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 200/1: Snatch, n. [...] 5. (Coll.) Loose women.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 12: Cruise around in a load like that [...] and you haveta beat the snatch off witha club.
[US]L. Bangs in Psychotic Reactions (1988) 33: Your poor average kid, cruisin’ addled down the street in vague pursuit of snatch or reds.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 43: I never hassle over stray snatch.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 105: You were seduced by snatch.
[US]B. Hamper Rivethead (1992) 147: When can we expect an in-depth article on the proper method of jumpin’ factory snatch?
[US]G. Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 192: ‘I don’t want no monkeys,’ said Fanella. ‘Don’t worry [...] they got white snatch down there too’.

(e) (US prison) a male homosexual.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 200/1: Snatch, n. [...] 5. (Coll.) [...] degenerates.

(f) (US gay) the anus.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 200/1: Snatch, n. [...] 6. (P) The buttocks.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.

(g) (US campus) a notably ugly woman.

[US]G. Indiana Rent Boy 85: ‘He was out with this heavy fucking snatch – ’ ‘Ratty hair? Bleach blond?’.

(h) AIDS.

[US]POZ Jan. [Internet] Slang for HIV: ‘The cat flu,’ ‘She’s got snatch’ (gay).

2. an arrest.

[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 71: The Body-Snatchers happened to get intellligence where he was [...] slapped him on the shoulder, informed him that he was a prisoner, and in that manner compleated his Snatch.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 200/1: Snatch, n. [...] 4. Seizure in the commission of a crime; arrest.

3. (UK/US Und.) a robbery, a victim ripe for robbing.

[Ire]Wkly Freeman’s Jrnl 20 Dec. 7/6: After I was chucked up I did a snatch near St Paul’s, was collared, lagged and got this bit of seven stretch.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Golden Spike 94: A lone woman appeared. Angel alerted immediately. ‘A snatch!’ he said. ‘Look how she swings that pocketbook. You take her, I’ll cover.’.
[US](con. 1934) H. Robbins A Stone for Danny Fisher 93: Don’t grab no junk; only stuff we can sell. [...] As soon as you made your snatch, blow.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 80: The snatch on Ludwig’s attic had whetted my appetite for this kind of pilfering.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 201: We ’ad this fella who was doin’ all the snatches off the old ladies.

4. (orig. US, also snatcheroo) a kidnapping.

implied in on the snatch
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 416: Johnny wouldn’t even listen when somebody talked about a snatch.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Cooked!’ Dan Turner - Hollywood Detective Jan. [Internet] Lola hired me to put the snatcheroo on you; to keep you here until morning.
[US]P. Rabe Benny Muscles In (2004) 236: A snatch? An old-fashioned abduction?
[US](con. 1958) R. Farina Been Down So Long (1972) 16: You know what, Heff? The Virgin Mary-Mother dug the whole snatch.
[US]D. Pendleton Boston Blitz (1974) 38: I don’t like the idea of bum-rapping a snatch.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 470: It placed the kid somewhere else at the time of the Wennerholm snatch.
[US]T. Piccirilli Fever Kill 118: They didn’t know it was a snatch at first. They thought she might’ve just wandered away.

5. attrib. use of sense 4, pertaining to kidnapping.

[US]G.T. Fleming-Roberts ‘Snatch Bait’ in Ten Detective Aces Oct. [Internet] Sergeant Brunt used human bait to hook the snatch mobsters.

6. (US black) a fight.

[US]G. Pelecanos Hell to Pay 6: What about that snatch we did with that boy’s dog over on Crittenden?

Pertaining to the vagina

In compounds

snatch bandit (n.)

a womanizer.

[UK]S. Berkoff East in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 69: She had this short skirt on – and it had tucked gently between her legs in case she flashed her magic snare to some snatch bandit like me.
snatch-blatch (n.) (also snatch-blade) [dial. blatch, dirt]

the vagina.

[UK]Motteux (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) II Bk V 622: pan.: Let us know how you victual the venereal camp. How is the snatchblade? fri.: Rough. [...] pan.: How is the gate-way? fri.: Free. pan.: And how is it within? fri.: Deep. pan.: I mean, what weather is it there? fri.: Hot.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]A. Crowley Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden 22: Her well-worn snatch-blatch could receive no gratification from anything smaller than a village pump-handle.
snatch-play (n.) [play n. (2)]

(US black) sexual activity.

[US]R. Russell Sound 113: They were introduced to an insignificant, graying man — ‘on the Jersey side of the snatch play’.
[US]A. Goldman Ladies and Gentlemen – Lenny Bruce! 196: Hipster talk [...] A man over forty, for example, was said to be ‘on the Jersey side of the snatch play’.
snatch shot (n.)

a close-up photograph of the naked vagina.

[US]‘Cory Randolph’ Hungry Debutante n.p.: [I]f he got real lucky he might get a snatch shot of the Carlson girl.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 49: Shiner would dissect the magazines and arrange his favourite snatch shots across the Plexiglas lid of the ice-cream freezer.
[US]P. Lefcourt Eleven Karens n.p.: Movie star and former Miss Pennsylvania, whose career was launched by the riveting snatch shot in the 1992 hit Basic Instinct.
snatch-thatch (n.) [thatch n. (2)]

the female pubic hair.

[US]‘Frank Cutter’ Shoot the Movie Star 156: My head is a whirlygig of jiggling bubs and freckled fannies and red snatch-thatches .
[UK]‘Timothy Lea’ Confessions of a Private Dick 42: Mrs Brown [...] draws up one of her legs so that I cop an eyeful of snatch thatch.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 187: There is a small family of names for the snatch-thatch based upon the tax imposed upon English playing cards in the day of Queen Anne.

In phrases

flash one’s snatch (v.)

to reveal one’s genitals.

[UK] ‘Nix My Jolly Gals Poke Away’ in Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 16: No gal who ever flash’d her snatch, / Could ever bring more swell coves up to the scratch.

Pertaining to crime

In compounds

snatch-game (n.) (also snatch racket) [game n. (6)/racket n.1 (1)]


C. Bell in Goldenberg Snatched! 30: The regular ‘Snatch’ game is an antiquated affair, and is always marked by certain characteristics. In the first place, the victim is invariably snatched without warning.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 237: snatch racket A kidnapping.
[UK]‘Nicholas Blake’ Whisper in the Gloom (1959) 119: Get that! He tried to kidnap Bert Hale. He’s in the snatch racket!

In phrases

do a snatch (v.)

to pickpocket.

[US] ‘The Street Arabs of New York’ in Appleton’s Journal (N.Y.) 4 Jan. 47: I caught the butcher-chap a-nappin’, so I slinked up and did a snatch.
on the snatch (UK/US Und.)

1. working as a kidnapper.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Snatching of Bookie Bob’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 118: Harry the Horse and Spanish John [...] go on the snatch. [Ibid.] 120: Waldo calls it kidnapping, which is a title that will be very repulsive to guys who are on the snatch nowadays.

2. working as a street robber.

[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 104: I thought you meant on the snatch.
put the snatch on (v.) (US)

1. to kidnap, to seize, to take over.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Snatching of Bookie Bob’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 122: We are going to put the snatch on Bookie Bob.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Daughter of Murder’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] Bradley met her train at Albuquerque; drugged her and put the snatch on her.
[US]W. Burroughs letter 27 May in Harris (1993) 50: I don’t even have a car. The Revenooers put the snatch on it in N.O.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 171/2: Put the snatch on. 1. To kidnap.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 93: Someone put the snatch on Petey Amadeo’s kid.
[US]W. Diehl Hooligans (2003) 403: We’re gonna put the snatch on him.

2. to arrest.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 171/2: Put the snatch on. [...] To arrest; to seize in the act.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 225: They’d never find the stuff where we got it planted, and if they put the snatch on any of us we’re all clean.