Snitches Get Stitches - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Is your brother about to "snitch" on you to your parents about breaking the window with the baseball? If you want him to shut up, you could always give him the verbal threat of "snitches get stitches."

Essentially, you're telling him there will be severe consequences for his actions later. The chances are you hear this phrase around from time to time.

This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning, use, and origin of "snitches get stitches."

Snitches Get Stitches Meaning

Snitches get stitches is a phrase used in modern language describing a threat if someone informs on them or another party. The term has its most common use in street culture, and it's also in many movies and music, particularly rap music.

The "snitch" in the phrase is the informant, usually confessing to authorities like the police. However, the modern use of the term means that the snitch could be snitching to their parents, school teacher, or any symbol of authority in the societal hierarchy.

"Stitches" refers to the beating the person will receive if they decide to proceed with their actions and inform the authorities of the person or other party's activities. When a person receives a severe injury, they require stitches to help the healing process.

The phrase comes from urban neighborhoods in large cities, and it initially had a violent threat to it between gang members. However, with the sayings adoption into pop culture, there is less threat behind it, and it's more of just a verbal warning to someone.

Snitches Get Stitches Example Usage

"I'm not telling you what happened, officer; snitches get stitches."

"Don't you know snitches get stitches, man?"

"Shut up, man, snitches get stitches."

"You know what they say; snitches get stitches."

"I can't tell you what I know; I can't go to prison; snitches get stitches."

Snitches Get Stitches Origin

The origin of "snitches get stitches" comes from American slang, particularly in African-American neighborhoods.

If a gang member were to inform the police on the activities of other gang members, whether they were rivals or affiliates, they would receive a cut on their face in prison to show other gang members they were informers. Typically, the perpetrator would use a boxcutter razor on the person's face, resulting in a long, deep scar on the individual's face.

The saying became popular in the nineties, thanks to the rise of hip-hop culture in society. However, no one really knows when the phrase appeared or who coined the saying. Snitches get stitches is a line in many Hollywood films and rap music, and you probably hear it from time to time when watching a movie or listening to the latest chart-toppers on iTunes.

Phrases Similar to Snitches Get Stitches

  • No snitching.
  • The truth hurts.

Phrases Opposite to Snitches Get Stitches

  • I'll tell you the truth.
  • I'll let you know what's going on.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Snitches get stitches.
  • Snitches will get stitches.
  • Snitches gonna get stitches.

Ways People May Say Snitches Get Stitches Incorrectly

Some people may phrase "snitches get stitches" incorrectly or use it in the wrong context. Saying it to your boss after he asks you where the missing petty cash is would surely get you fired.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Snitches Get Stitches

You can use the phrase "snitches get stitches" in social settings or where you're being interviewed as a community member or suspect by law enforcement or another authority.

However, in law enforcement situations, it's going to make you look disrespectful to the interviewing officer, and they'll treat you as hostile. It's better for use in social situations between friends when you're trying to make people laugh.

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