Front Door Snib

amazinggrace

Member
Italian/Italy
Hi everybody,
Can you just explain me what is a front door snib?

I found the expression in this sentence:

"She dressed in sweater and slacks, in her old tweed coat,
and slipped from the house with a tut of the front door snib."

Is it a sort of screen door? :confused:

Thanks!
 
  • panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A door-snib is some kind of catch, fastening, lock - something that goes "tut" when you close the door so that it can't be pushed open again.
     

    winklepicker

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Actually snib has a very specific meaning. It is a small handle, especially on a Yale lock (or night latch) which allows you to deadlock the door from inside.

    See Locksonline.co.uk

    EDIT: In the literary example given above it has been carelessly used to mean catch... :)
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Actually snib has a very specific meaning. It is a small handle, especially on a Yale lock (or night latch) which allows you to deadlock the door from inside.

    See Locksonline.co.uk

    EDIT: In the literary example given above it has been carelessly used to mean catch... :)
    The yale lock variant of snib is a specific example - operated from the inside either to deadlock the door or to ensure that the lock/latch does not operate.

    The tweedy lady's snib went "tut" as she closed the door from the outside, suggesting that this snib is an alternative catch or fastening - and in keeping with the rather ancient use of snib - almost certainly pre-dating the kind of lock that comes with a built-in snib.
     
    On our old yale lock there was a small knob (snib) which you could push up - to hold the lock open. This allowed the maid to go outside safely to brush and black-lead the boot scraper.

    At bed time the butler would always announce to my Mother, "The snib is down, Ma'am, and the bolts are firmly shot home."

    Putting the snib in the down position ensured that no key could open the lock.

    LRV
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    And pre-dating the use by ladies of sweater and slacks? :D
    Harrummph. I was suggesting that the tutting snib in question, and the word snib, pre-date the modern use of snib for the little knobby thing on a "yale" lock (grumpity-grump). The lady may well have been thoroughly modern (though hardly, if she wore "slacks").
     
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