Snarl traffic=snag traffic?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jiamajia, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    The accident snagged traffic for two hours.
    The accident snarled traffic for two hours.

    Do the two sentences have the same meaning?
  2. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    You want snarl and not snag, but I'd say it differently: The accident caused a two-hour (traffic) snarl-up. It's very colloquial.
  3. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    They may have the same meaning, but they are not what a native speaker would say. In BE we would say something like 'The accident held up the traffic for two hours', or ' . . . held the traffic up . . . '. Or 'The traffic was held up by the accident'.

    We talk about the traffic being 'snarled up' when there is a traffic jam, but not that something snarls the traffic.

    I don't think the word 'snagged' is appropriate here at all.

  4. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    I have found the phrase 'snag traffic' on this newspaper's website and I assume it could be an American English usage:
    It is unclear if the bus was carrying passengers at the time of the accident.The accident snagged traffic across Canal Street for at least two hours, holding up a fleet of massive high-end yachts fresh from the New York Boat Show at the Javits Center.
  5. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
  6. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I've never heard it either. I'll go farther and say that it makes no sense to me. There is no meaning for snagged that I'm aware of that makes any sense in this sentence. I think it's just a simple error. The writer meant snarled but accidentally wrote snagged instead and no editor (assuming there were any) caught it.
  7. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member


    The accident snarled (the) traffic for two hours.----------It may sound a bit unnatural to British English speakers as heypresto and rhitagawr have said in their replies. Does it sound fine in American English?
  8. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

  9. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Although I live in the Midwest now, I'm originally from Southern California, so perhaps I share James' bias. Anyway, so long as "the" is deleted before "traffic," the sentence in post #7 sounds find to me. If a kitten can snarl knitting yarn, why can't an accident snarl traffic? What happens to SoCal traffic under those conditions is much worse than whatever the kitten can do!
  10. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    I checked the meaning of "snag" in dictionary. They don't indicate anything to do with traffic on road, but there is sense of "holding, breaking or getting damaged". So it might happen that it is being figuratively used for transport on road. May be in no time it would be so over used that it will sound natural, and dictionary meaning will also be updated.
  11. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    As has been repeatedly pointed out, "snag" is inappropriate here.

    Speculation as to whether the language will change to include an error seems rather pointless.

    You might review this previous thread: When pigs fly! (When pigs flied! [flew] )
  12. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    The noun snag might be OK in reference to traffic, but not the verb. The two are not quite as closely related as one might think!
  13. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member


    I checked the following link before posting the thread and assumed the definition 'to hinder or impede' would work quite well. But actually it doesn't according to numerous replies to the thread.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  14. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    It's a bit late on this thread, but "snag" as a noun, literally, is a dead tree (among other things)

    Dead trees eventually fall and sometimes fall across roads or land in waterways and thus "hitting a snag" is not connected with the hooking nature of the verb "snag."

    See this previous thread: hit a snag

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