Snide Remark: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 17, 2023

The phrase "snide remark" means making a comment that's cutting or slyly insulting, often delivered in a subtle way that is not openly hostile. Usually, snide remarks are sarcastic, mocking, or even contemptuous. People make snide remarks to criticize or belittle others while trying to appear innocent or even polite.

In short:

  • It refers to a comment that's subtly insulting or sarcastic.
  • It's a way to put someone down while not being openly mean.

What Does "Snide Remark" Mean?

The term “snide remark” refers to a comment that's meant to mock or insult someone in a less-than-obvious way. If someone makes a "snide remark," they are trying to belittle or ridicule another person while often trying to make it seem like they're just making an innocent comment.

Let's dig into its primary meanings and how people use it:

  • A "snide remark" is a subtle jab or insult aimed at someone else.
  • People often make snide remarks to express disdain or disapproval, but without being straightforward.
  • The comment usually has a sarcastic tone, making it clear to the target that they are insulted, even if it isn't explicit.
  • It's often used to undermine or belittle someone without starting an open conflict.
  • Other terms that mean the same or similar include "backhanded compliment," "veiled insult," and "sarcastic comment."

Where Does "Snide Remark" Come From?

The exact origins of the phrase “snide remark” are unclear, but the word “snide” itself appears to have originated in the 19th century, with its first known use being in 1859. The word was initially used in thieves’ slang, probably of Dutch vernacular or German origin, with reference to coin clipping and, later, to cutting remarks.

Historical Example

"By jove, I object to that type of snide remark which brings out exactly the point I have been trying to make, that there is a social stigma attached to pubs."

- Parliamentary Debates, Volume 325, 1961

10 Examples of "Snide Remark" in Sentences

To help you get a handle on the term, let's look at some examples from different life situations:

  • When she won the game, his snide remark about her "beginner's luck" ruined her excitement.
  • During the meeting, his snide remark about her "always being late" made everyone uncomfortable.
  • She made a snide remark about his fashion choices, saying he had "unique taste."
  • Even though you often pull my leg, I wasn't expecting such a snide remark from you.
  • If you want to seal the deal, avoid snide remarks that could offend them.
  • He was known for speaking his mind, but this time, his snide remark came out at full throttle, surprising everyone in the room.
  • She often makes snide remarks about his cooking, asking if he learned to cook "at a fast-food place."
  • Making a snide remark might not be the best approach when trying to keep it light at a social gathering.
  • During the concert, his snide remark about the band's "amazing talent" made it obvious he wasn't a fan.
  • As they decided to steal away from the party early, a snide remark from one of the guests left an uncomfortable impression that lingered in the air.

Examples of "Snide Remark" in Pop Culture

The term often appears in pop culture, indicating conflict or tension between characters.

Here's where you might see it:

  • In a New York Times book review titled Inseparable From a Swan: "Craig's snide remark, made after Duncan's and Pavlova's deaths, came from inside the so-called enemy camp. Duncan was the foe of ballet, a founder of modern dance."
  • In a scholarly article titled "What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate: A Postmodern Analysis of Representations of Higher Education in Cinema," Talia reacts to Mercy's snide remark by saying, "Hey! Bambi was a boy!" The article analyzes how higher education is portrayed in cinema.
  • In a Reuters article about the movie "Flipped," a character makes a snide remark about Bryce, who then spends weeks transforming his front yard. The article reviews the movie and its characters.
  • In a TV show episode of “Live With Kelly And Mark,” Kelly Ripa responds to a snide remark from the show’s producer. The producer quietly jokes, “Could we stop you?” Quickly, diverting her attention from the question she was about to ask, she responds to the show’s producer instead. Emphatically saying, “You may try, Gelman, but you won’t succeed.”
  • In the book “China Boy” by Gus Lee, there’s a line: "He had to give a 6 am briefing to a ‘senior cabinet minister,’ who greeted him with a snide remark.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Snide Remark"

If you're looking for other ways to express the same idea, you've got options.

Here they are:

  • Sarcastic comment
  • Backhanded compliment
  • Veiled insult
  • Mocking jab
  • Sly dig
  • Subtle put-down
  • Cutting observation
  • Wry comment
  • Cynical remark
  • Sharp-tongued comment

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Snide Remark":

  • What does "snide remark" mean?

A "snide remark" is a sarcastic or mocking comment meant to belittle someone or make them feel bad. It often carries a tone of disdain or contempt.

  • How can I use "snide remark" in a sentence?

You can use "snide remark" as a noun phrase in a sentence. For example: "He made a snide remark about her new hairstyle." "Her snide remark about the project left the team feeling discouraged.

  • Is a snide remark always obvious?

No, a snide remark can sometimes be subtle, making it harder to identify as an insult or put-down. It might even sound like a compliment at first.

  • Can it be unintentional?

Usually, a snide remark is intentional and meant to hurt or belittle. However, someone might make a comment they don't realize could be taken as snide.

  • How should you respond to a snide remark?

Responses can vary depending on the situation. You can ignore it, confront the person, or use humor to diffuse the tension. The best approach depends on the relationship and context.

  • Why do people make snide remarks?

People make snide remarks for various reasons, like jealousy, insecurity, or a desire to assert dominance. Sometimes it's just a bad habit.

  • Can snide remarks be harmful?

Yes, snide remarks can be emotionally hurtful and can harm relationships. They can create a negative environment, whether at home, school, or work.

  • Is it the same as sarcasm?

While snide remarks often employ sarcasm, they're not the same thing. Sarcasm can be playful or harmless, but snide remarks aim to belittle or demean.

  • How do snide remarks affect relationships?

Snide remarks can create tension and mistrust, harming the quality of relationships. They can make open and honest communication difficult.

  • Do snide remarks have any cultural variations?

Yes, what's considered a snide remark can vary between cultures. What may be seen as a harmless joke in one culture might be taken as a serious insult in another.

Final Thoughts About "Snide Remark"

The term "snide remark" refers to a comment meant to hurt or belittle someone. Knowing what it means can help you navigate social interactions better. Whether you're at the receiving end of such remarks or you catch yourself making one, understanding the term can aid in improving communication and relationships.

Here's a quick recap:

  • A "snide remark" is generally a mean-spirited or mocking comment aimed to put someone down.
  • These remarks can be both obvious and subtle, and they can do real harm to relationships and emotional well-being.
  • Being aware of snide remarks can help you better manage your reactions in social situations and think twice before making such a comment yourself.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

U.S Dictionary is the premier dictionary about the English language as used in the United States of America.
Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy