- Wow, you got yourself into one hell of snafu.
- Wow, you got yourself into one hell of problem.
Are the both sentences above equal ?
Aside from the obscenity issue, there is a significant difference between "problem" and "snafu".
"Problem" simply means some sort of difficulty, of unspecified origin and history.
"Snafu" (or "SNAFU", if you prefer) refers to a situation where things have gotten "tied into a knot", so to speak, due to miscommunication, poor planning, multiple simultaneous failures, etc. Usually (but not always) the cause is human fallibility, but inevitably it's a problem which developed over a relatively short period, involving several factors.
Eg, if you're digging a hole and encounter a ledge of rock, that's a problem. If this occurs immediately after your boss decided you no longer needed the jackhammer and so sent it back to the rental place (which is now closed for the weekend), that's a snafu, especially if you're on a tight schedule.
According to vocabulary.com snafu, the old possibly offensive military term, is nowadays used to refer to any kind of problem:
Snafu was originally a World War II-era military acronym standing for "situation normal: all fucked up." These days, a snafu is any mistake or problem.
The original, military meaning of snafu is obscene. However, since you don't actually say the f-word when saying snafu, just about no one is offended by this word these days. Back in the military, a snafu would have been a dangerous situation, but this word is used now for any kind of goof-up. Spilling soup or forgetting your tickets to a baseball game are snafus. Any error, glitch, or screwed-up situation can be called a snafu.
The OLD defines snafu as:
- a situation in which nothing happens as planned It was another bureaucratic snafu.
The Grammarist comments that:
- Snafu is a hard or complicated problem or the mistake that causes the confusing problem. The plural is snafus. It was coined in the 1940s as an acronym for ‘situation normal all fouled up’. It should be noted that this term is used mainly in the United States in informal situations.
The owner of Rotterdam Square Mall is blaming National Grid for a billing snafu that reportedly nearly resulted in the shopping center’s utility service being cut this past weekend. [Albany Business Review]
Voting snafus are a perennial national embarrassment that have persisted even after the painful debacle of the 2000 presidential election. [Boston Globe]
First of all, you need to add an a before the final word: "into one hell of a problem."
Second, since you are already using hell to proceed the thing you have gotten yourself into, I assume you are amongst informal company that does not object to profanity. Given that snafu originates from Situation Normal All Fucked Up, if you can use the F-word with your listener, then you can also use snafu.
On the other hand, if speaking with elders, bosses, or in any formal setting at all, drop the hell and definitely use problem.