The girl obeyed. She arranged the cello on the back seat and leaned forward to the dashboard so she could watch the two women approach the wire and unpeg the sheets. They faced each other, joined by the cloth, and raised their arms in unison, they shook the cloth and snapped it tight, they advanced and retreated until each sheet was a flat bundle in Athena’s arms. Poppy saw that they were speaking, with pauses, but she could not hear what they were saying.

in the phrase "they shook the cloth and snapped it tight", does "snap it tight" mean: They seized the cloth and pulled it firmly?

Here "snap" is a transitive verb and I searched its meaning in the dictionary but again the meaning of this phrase was unclear to me.

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    Each woman would be holding two corners of the sheet. Before folding it they shook it and then pulled the corners sharply apart so that the sheet was stretched tightly between them. Then they began to fold it; one woman would give her two corners to the other and then catch hold of the two ends of the fold. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


It is describing the action of quickly pulling a length of material tight so that it makes a 'snapping' sound. This isn't perhaps the use of 'snap' that you found in a dictionary. To snap something can mean to break it in two.

Nouns for sounds are sometimes used as verbs for the action that produce the sound, for example 'clicking' is used for pressing the button on a mouse, or switching something on such as a light.


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