Origin of the word
The verb snap came into English in the late 15th century, probably from the Middle Dutch or Middle Low German ‘snappen’, ‘to seize’. Among its many current meanings are to break or move (something) making a short loud sound, as in snapping a stick or snapping a switch on or off, and to bite or try to bite. To snap also means to take a photograph (1890), possibly because of the sound made by the camera’s shutter.
“With mobile phones being almost everywhere these days we are all snapping away taking images of friends and family, locations and, in some cases, significant newsworthy events when they occur in front of us.”
The word is often used in news headlines, especially in American English, to mean ‘break’, as in: “China fixes yuan mid-point lower, snapping 11-day rising streak”, and: “In Twitter Attack, Shiv Sena Hints at Snapping Ties With BJP in Maharashtra,” and: “Royals head to Cleveland in hopes of snapping Indians long win streak.”
Snap is also frequently used to refer to the tone of voice and speed of delivery when speaking to another person. It indicates anger, impatience and displeasure when responding or giving instructions. The response from a hassled individual is likely to be “Stop snapping at me”.
5. to take a photograph of someone or something.
“He worked as a photographer, snapping the young Brigitte Bardot.”
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.