In forestry and natural history, a snag is a standing dead tree. In a forest ecosystem, they provide habitat for insects and tree cavity dependent wildlife: dead or decaying wood is easier to dig a hole in. Snags also are useful for feeding: most snags show evidence of use by insectivorous birds, probably because snags are great places for immature or migrating insects to hide. Snags also allow more light into the forest floor, allowing the growth of shrubs and grasses, increasing the variety of habitat in a forest. In a mature mixed forest, snags make up 5 to 10 percent of the trees.

'Snag' is also an Australian slang term for a sausage. This usage of the word also appears to be gaining a modest popularity in the U.K.

Snag (?), n. [Prov. E., n., a lump on a tree where a branch has been cut off; v., to cut off the twigs and small branches from a tree, of Celtic origin; cf. Gael. snaigh, snaidh, to cut down, to prune, to sharpen, p. p. snaighte, snaidhte, cut off, lopped, Ir. snaigh a hewing, cutting.]


A stump or base of a branch that has been lopped off; a short branch, or a sharp or rough branch; a knot; a protuberance.

The coat of arms Now on a naked snag in triumph borne. Dryden.


A tooth projecting beyond the rest; contemptuously, a broken or decayed tooth.



A tree, or a branch of a tree, fixed in the bottom of a river or other navigable water, and rising nearly or quite to the surface, by which boats are sometimes pierced and sunk.

4. Zool.

One of the secondary branches of an antler.

<-- 5. Any sharp protuberant part of an object, which may catch, scratch, or tear other objects brought into contact with it. -->

Snag boat, a steamboat fitted with apparatus for removing snags and other obstructions in navigable streams. [U.S.] -- Snag tooth. Same as Snag, 2.

How thy snag teeth stand orderly, Like stakes which strut by the water side. J. Cotgrave.


© Webster 1913.

Snag, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Snagged (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Snagging (?).]


To cut the snags or branches from, as the stem of a tree; to hew roughly.

[Prov. Eng.]



To injure or destroy, as a steamboat or other vessel, by a snag, or projecting part of a sunken tree.

[U. S.]

<-- 3. To catch on a snag{5}. 4. (Fig.) To obtain by a quick action, as though by snagging{3} something passing by; -- often used of an opportunistic or fortunate action. -->


© Webster 1913.

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