snuffing out


2 [snuhf]
the charred or partly consumed portion of a candlewick.
a thing of little or no value, especially if left over.
verb (used with object)
to cut off or remove the snuff of (candles, tapers, etc.).
Verb phrases
snuff out,
to extinguish: to snuff out a candle.
to suppress; crush: to snuff out opposition.
Informal. to kill or murder: Many lives were snuffed out during the epidemic.

1350–1400; Middle English snoffe < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
snuff1 (snʌf)
vb (when intr, often foll by at)
1.  (tr) to inhale through the nose
2.  (esp of an animal) to examine by sniffing
3.  an act or the sound of snuffing
[C16: probably from Middle Dutch snuffen to snuffle, ultimately of imitative origin]

snuff2 (snʌf)
1.  finely powdered tobacco for sniffing up the nostrils or less commonly for chewing
2.  a small amount of this
3.  any powdered substance, esp one for sniffing up the nostrils
4.  informal up to snuff
 a.  in good health or in good condition
 b.  chiefly (Brit) not easily deceived
5.  (intr) to use or inhale snuff
[C17: from Dutch snuf, shortened from snuftabale, literally: tobacco for snuffing; see snuff1]

snuff3 (snʌf)
1.  (often foll by out) to extinguish (a light from a naked flame, esp a candle)
2.  to cut off the charred part of (the wick of a candle, etc)
3.  informal (usually foll by out) to suppress; put an end to
4.  informal (Brit) snuff it to die
5.  the burned portion of the wick of a candle
[C14 snoffe, of obscure origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"to cut or pinch off the burned part of a candle wick," c.1450, from noun snoffe "burned part of a candle wick" (1382), of unknown origin, perhaps related to snuff (v.2). The meaning "to die" is from 1865; that of "to kill" is from 1932; snuff-film, urban legend, is from 1975.

"draw in through the nose," 1527, from Du. or Flem. snuffen "to sniff, snuff," related to Du. snuiven "to sniff," from P.Gmc. *snuf- (cf. M.H.G. snupfe, Ger. Schnupfen "head-cold"), imitative of the sound of drawing air through the nose.

"powdered tobacco to be inhaled," 1683, from Du. or Flem. snuf, shortened form of snuftabak "snuff tobacco," from snuffen "to sniff, snuff" (see snuff (v.2)). The practice became fashionable in England c.1680. Snuff-box is attested from 1687.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

snuff (snŭf)
v. snuffed, snuff·ing, snuffs
To inhale something audibly through the nose; sniff. n.

  1. A preparation of finely pulverized tobacco that can be drawn up into the nostrils by inhaling.

  2. A medicated powder inhaled through or blown into the nose.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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