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In the dictionary

snap: 2 MOVE INTO POSITION [intransitive, transitive always + adverb/preposition] to move into a particular position suddenly, making a short sharp noise, or to make something move like this

snap together/back etc

The pieces just snap together like this.

The policeman snapped the handcuffs around her wrist.

snap (something) open/shut

She snapped her briefcase shut.


click [intransitive, transitive] to make or cause something to make a short sharp sound

(+ adv./prep.) The cameras clicked away.

The bolt clicked into place.

  • adj. The door clicked shut.

click something He clicked his fingers at the waiter.

Polly clicked her tongue in annoyance.

The corporal clicked his heels.

The police officer clicked a pair of handcuffs around his wrists.


So, these are from dictionaries, "the policeman snapped the handcuffs around her wrist" and "the police officer clicked a pair of handcuffs around his wrists".

Can "snap" and "click" be used interchangeably or what are the differences?

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  • If you want the idiomatic version of applying handcuffs = "snap on the cuffs". The officers snapped the cuffs on the felon. Also, they "cuffed the felon". Jun 19, 2020 at 8:57
  • Personally, I would use click only in reference to the sound made by cuffs rather than the action of applying them. Jun 19, 2020 at 9:05

1 Answer 1

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There is no significant difference. Both expressions mean that the handcuffs were quickly closed round the arrested person's wrist(s) with a sound described as either a snap or a click.

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