Also called inhaler. a pear-shaped glass, narrowing at the top to intensify the aroma of brandy, liqueur, etc.
Informal. a very small drink of liquor.

1840–50; derivative of snifter to sniff, snivel, Middle English snyfter; imitative Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
snifter (ˈsnɪftə)
1.  a pear-shaped glass with a short stem and a bowl that narrows towards the top so that the aroma of brandy or a liqueur is retained
2.  informal a small quantity of alcoholic drink
[C19: perhaps from dialect snifter to sniff, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish snifta (obsolete) to sniff]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1844, "a drink of liquor," earlier "a sniff," from an obsolete verb meaning "to sniff, snivel" (mid-14c.), of imitative origin. Meaning "large bulbous stemmed glass for drinking brandy" is from 1937. The association of "drinking liquor" with words for "inhaling, snuffling" (e.g.
snort) is perhaps borrowed from snuff-taking and the nasal reaction to it.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The result is a thick revelation that's best sipped from a snifter or chalice.
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