A sniper is a military/paramilitarymarksman who operates to maintain effective visual contact with the enemy and engage targets from concealed positions or at distances exceeding their detection capabilities. Snipers generally have specialized training and are equipped with high-precision rifles and high-magnification optics, and often feed information back to their units or command headquarters.
The verb "to snipe" originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India in reference to shooting snipe, which was considered a challenging target for marksmen. The agent noun "sniper" appears by the 1820s. The term sniper was first attested in 1824[not in citation given] in the sense of the word "sharpshooter".
A somewhat older term is "sharp shooter", a calque of 18th-century German Scharfschütze, in use in British newspapers as early as 1801.