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Snip Snap Snorem
Deck French
Card rank (highest first)A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Playing time5 min.
Random chanceLow
Related games

Snip-Snap-Snorum, or Snip-Snap-Snorem (sometimes unhyphenated), is a matching-type card game, mostly played by children, and has several variants. The game dates at least to the 18th century, being first mentioned by the English authoress, Frances Burney, and probably derives from a more ancient drinking and gambling game. [1] References to "Snip, snap, snorum", which seems to be the original spelling, go back to at least 1823. [2]



"Snip, snap, snorum" is recorded as early as 1767 in England in a way that suggests the game would have been well known [3] and appears, as Chnif Chnof Chnorum, in 1782 and 1790 in France. [4] [5] Vilmar describes it as a children's game popular in the early 19th century in Germany, the original and proper name of which was Schnipp, Schnapp, Schnorum, Apostelorum although the last word, which means "of the apostles" became corrupted to the meaningless word, "Basalorum". [6] Five villages in 19th-century Sweden were named after the Swedish equivalent, Snipp, snapp, snorum, hej basalorum: Snipp, Snapp, Snorum, Hej and Basalorum. [7]

The game

There are several methods of playing the game, but in the most common a full Whist pack is used and any number of players may take part. The pack is dealt, one card at a time, and the eldest hand places upon the table any card of his choosing. Each player in his turn then tries to match the card played just before his; playing it while saying one of the prescribed words: "Snip!", "Snap!" or "Snorem!" in sequence. Thus, if a King is played, the next player lays down another King (if one is in-hand) calling out "Snip!". The next player may lay down the third King if available, saying "Snap!", and the next the fourth King with the word "Snorem!". A player not being able to pair the card played may not discard, and the holder of snorem has the privilege of beginning the next round. The player who gets rid of all cards in-hand first wins a counter from the other players for each card still held by them.


Earl of Coventry

Earl of Coventry is just the same, but played without counters for a simple win. The leader says "There's as good a 6 can be" (if they had played a six). The second player says "There's a 6 as good as he", the third "There's the best of all the three", and the fourth "And there's the Earl of Coventry". Optionally, players may be required to make a different rhyming statement every time they play a fourth card. [8]


A related game called Jig is somewhat a cross between Snip-Snap and Stops, in that the aim of succeeding players is not to match rank but to play the next higher card of the same suit, from Ace low to King high.

The leader plays any card and says "Snip", and the next four able to continue the sequence announce respectively "Snap", "Snorum", "Hicockalorum", "Jig". [9] The last turns down the five-card sequence and starts a new one. When a sequence cannot be continued because the last card was a King or the next card has been played out, the last player says "Jig" regardless of position, and leads to the next round. As before, the first out of cards receives 1 counter for each card left in other players' hands. [9]


Moor describes an old Suffolk variant allows that any number to play. The cards are all dealt out and elder plays one, saying or singing "there's a good card for thee," passing it to the right. The next person with a card of the same rank says "there's a still better than he," and passes both onward. The person with the third says "there's the best of all three" and the holder of the fourth crowns it all with "And there is Niddy-Noddeee!", winning the tack (trick) and starting again. Moor acknowledges an alternative final line of "and there's the Lord Mayor of Coventreee!" [10]


An extended version called Schnipp Schnapp Schnurr Burr Basilorum is played in Germany. Kings are not stops but are followed by Ace, Two, etc. [9] [11] The rules are recorded as early as 1868 in the Electorate of Hesse under their original name of Schnipp Schnapp Schnurr Apostolorum, the last word "also being abbreviated to Bostelorum or Bastelorum" and, later, Baselorum. In the variant described by Vilmar, players must lead either with a Seven or a Jack. He goes on to explains that the original meaning was to imply a game being played between the Four Apostles or Evangelists, but that its corruption to Baselorum by another author diminished its potential irreverence. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Brag (card game)

Brag is an 18th century British card game, and the British national representative of the vying or "bluffing" family of gambling games. It is a descendant of the Elizabethan game of Primero and one of the several ancestors to poker, the modern version just varying in betting style and hand rankings. It has been described as the "longest-standing British representative of the Poker family."

Snap (card game)

Snap is a popular card game in which players deal cards and react quickly to spot pairs of cards of the same rank. Cards are either dealt into separate piles around the table, one per player, or into a single shared pile.

Sixty-Six (card game)

Sixty-Six or 66, sometimes known as Paderbörnern, is a fast 5- or 6-card point-trick game of the marriage type for 2–4 players, played with 24 cards. It is an Ace-Ten game where Aces are high and Tens rank second. It has been described as "one of the best two-handers ever devised".

Rams (card game)

Rams is a European trick-taking card game related to Nap and Loo, and may be played by any number of persons not exceeding nine, although five or seven make a good game. In Belgium and France, the game of Rams is also spelt Rammes or Rems, in Germany, Rams, Rammes, Ramsch, Ramschen, Ramscheln or Ramsen, in Austria, Ramsen and Ramschen, and, in America, Rounce. The basic idea is fairly constant, but scoring systems vary. It was a widespread European gambling and drinking game that is still popular today. During the 19th century, it was introduced as Rounce in America and played with a 52-card deck without any difference between simples and doubles and with no General Rounce announcement. In the modern German variety of the game, Ramscheln, the 7 is the second best trump ranking next below the ace.

Glossary of card game terms List of definitions of terms and jargon used in card games

The following is a glossary of terms used in card games. Besides the terms listed here, there are thousands of common and uncommon slang terms. Terms in this glossary should not be game-specific, but apply to a wide range of card games. For glossaries that relate primarily to one game or family of similar games, see Game-specific glossaries.

Elfern, also known as Eilfern, Figurenspiel or Elfmandeln, is a very old, German and Austrian 6-card, no-trump, trick-and-draw game for two players using a 32-card, French-suited Piquet pack or German-suited Skat pack. The object is to win the majority of the 20 honours: the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten in a Piquet pack or the Ace, King, Ober, Unter and Ten in a Skat pack. Elfern is at least 250 years old and a possible ancestor to the Marriage family of card games, yet it is still played by German children.


Einwerfen or Zählspiel is a German 8-card point-trick game for four players in two teams of two and using a 32-card German-suited pack. Its closest relative is the popular Portuguese game Sueca. Perhaps the most basic and typical representative of the Ace-Ten card games, this game was first described as early as 1811, but may be considerably older.

Newmarket (card game)

Newmarket is an English card game of the matching type for any number of players. It is a domestic gambling game, involving more chance than skill, and emerged in the 1880s as an improvement of the older game of Pope Joan. It became known in America as Stops or Boodle before developing into Michigan. In 1981, Newmarket was still the sixth most popular card game in Britain.


Binokel is a card game for two to eight players that originated in Switzerland as Binocle, but spread to the German state of Württemberg where it is typically played with a Württemberg pattern pack. It is still popular in Württemberg, where it is usually played in groups of three or four as a family game rather than in the pubs. In three-hand games, each player competes for himself, while in four-hand games, known as Cross Binokel (Kreuzbinokel), two teams are formed with partners sitting opposite one another. The game was introduced to America by German immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, where it developed into the similar game of Pinochle. Binocle was still played in Switzerland in 1994. In south Germany, the game is sometimes called by its Swabian name, Benoggl.

Ace-Ten games

An Ace-Ten game is a type of card game, highly popular in Europe, in which the Aces and Tens are of particularly high value.


Slobberhannes is a trick-taking, American card game, possibly of German origin, for four players, in which the aim is to avoid taking the first and last tricks and the queen of clubs. Hoyle's describes it as "really quite an excellent game for the family circle" that "can be played with equal enjoyment either for counters or for small stakes."

Tatteln,, Tärtel, Törteln, Tertelé, Franzefuß, Frantsfuus, Därdechen, Därde, Därdel or Derdeln is an historical card game for two players that is played with a pack of 32 French or German playing cards. The rules resemble both those of Piquet as well as those of Mariage (Sixty-six). Parlett refers to it as a trick-and-draw version of the international classic, two-hander, Klaberjass.

Bester Bube

Bester Bube, Bester Bauer, Bester Buur, Beste Boeren (Holland), Fünfkart, Fiefkarten, Fiefkaart, Fiefkort or Fiefander (Holstein), or Lenter is an historical German card game for 3–6 players played with a Piquet pack. It is one of the Rams group of card games characterised by allowing players to drop out of the current game if they think they will be unable to win any tricks or a minimum number of tricks. It appears to be loosely related to Five-Card Loo.

Twenty-One (card game)

Twenty-One, formerly known as Vingt-Un in Britain, France and America, is the name given to a family of popular card games of the gambling family, the progenitor of which is recorded in Spain in the early 17th century. The family includes the casino games of blackjack and Pontoon as well as their domestic equivalents. Twenty-One rose to prominence in France in the 18th century and spread from there to Germany and Britain from whence it crossed to America. Known initially as Vingt-Un in all those countries, it developed into Pontoon in Britain after the First World War and blackjack in Canada and the United States in the late 19th century, where the legalisation of gambling increased its popularity.

Lorum (card game)

Lorum or Lórum is an old, Hungarian, compendium card game for 4 players. Although it is the ancestor of the French game, Barbu, it is still played today. It uses a German-suited pack of 32 cards and comprises 8 individual contracts, each with different rules, each of which is played four times so that a session consists of a total of 32 individual games and lasts about 1½ hours.

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Penneech or Peneech, sometimes called Penicth, is an unusual historical English card game for two players played with hands of seven cards. The unique feature of this game is that the trump suit changes with each trick. Parlett describes it as a "jolly little two-hander".

Costly Colours

Costly Colours, sometimes just called Costly, is an historical English card game for two players and a more complex relative of Cribbage. The game "requires a moderate amount of skill in playing, and is well adapted to teach quickness in counting" but, unlike Cribbage, it does not use a 'crib'. In the 19th century it was described as "peculiar to Shropshire."

Wit and Reason is an historical English card game for two players that "seems easy at first to the learner, but in his practice and observation he will find it otherwise." It is reminiscent of Thirty-One.


  1. Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, David Parlett, p. 273; Oxford University Press (1996); ISBN   0-19-869173-4
  2. Ferguson, James (1823). The British Essayists, Vol XXVI, Richardson, London. p. 267.
  3. Smart 1767, p. 171.
  4. _ 1782, p. 115.
  5. 1790 & Huvier des Fontenelles.
  6. 1 2 Vilmar 1868, p. 362.
  7. Karl Fahlgren, Skellefte sockens historia (1953) Sid.80 - Tryckt på Almqvist & Wiksells boktryckeri AB
  8. The Little Giant Book of Card Games, p. 122; Alfred Sheinwold, Sheila Anne Barry, Margie Golick-Sterling (2003); ISBN   1-4027-0286-8
  9. 1 2 3 Notes and Queries (1862) Notes and Queries
  10. Moor 1823, pp. 250/251.
  11. Parlett 2008, p. 444.