What does whip-snap mean?

Lured by its splashy fight scenes and whip-snap dialogue

  • 1
    I think it means "harsh". Just a guess by looking at the sentence. – Apoorva Jan 23 '12 at 8:31
  • @Apoorva : I'm sorry,but i just cannot understand what do you mean by describing a dialogue as "harsh"? – goldmonkey Jan 23 '12 at 9:33
  • Harsh as in the dialogues are intense or rude. – Apoorva Jan 23 '12 at 10:17

It is a metaphor for the snapping or cracking of a whip. Imagine a whip act at a circus.

Snappy is a common adjective for dialogue. It suggests that the sentences are short and witty; that the responses come quickly; that the conversation goes back and forth quickly.

Whip-snap simply emphasises that adjective; the conversation is snappy like a whip.

  • A very appropriate analogy. – abhinav Jan 23 '12 at 12:03

I can only suppose from the context that it means something like ‘fast and furious’. It calls to mind the term whipper-snapper, but that has a quite different meaning as an insignificant, but often impertinent, young man. According to the OED, Thackeray created the adjective whipping-snapping from it and used it on a single occasion to mean ‘diminutive, insignificant’, but it is nowhere else recorded.


Further ot @Slim - who is correct, and it relates to the snap of a whip - the term whip-snap, as opposed to just snappy, implies very quick and clever dialogue or responses. Full of clever one-liners, and a minimalist approach to dialogue.

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