snuff

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Related to sniff. Cognate to Dutch snuffen (to snuff).

Noun[edit]

snuff (countable and uncountable, plural snuffs)

  1. Finely ground or pulverized tobacco intended for use by being sniffed or snorted into the nose.
  2. Fine-ground or minced tobacco, dry or moistened, intended for use by placing a pinch behind the lip or beneath the tongue; see also snus.
    • 1896, Universal Dictionary of the English Language:
      Dry snuffs are often adulterated with quicklime, and moist snuffs, as rappee, with ammonia, hellebore, pearl-ash, etc.
  3. A snort or sniff of fine-ground, powdered, or pulverized tobacco.
  4. The act of briskly inhaling by the nose; a sniff, a snort.
  5. Resentment or skepticism expressed by quickly drawing air through the nose; snuffling; sniffling.
  6. (obsolete) Snot, mucus.
  7. (obsolete) Smell, scent, odour.
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Verb[edit]

snuff (third-person singular simple present snuffs, present participle snuffing, simple past and past participle snuffed)

  1. To inhale through the nose.
    • Dryden
      He snuffs the wind, his heels the sand excite.
    • 1945, George Orwell, Animal Farm, chapter 6
      Napoleon paced to and fro in silence, occasionally snuffing at the ground.
  2. To turn up the nose and inhale air, as an expression of contempt; hence, to take offence.
    • Bishop Hall
      Do the enemies of the church rage and snuff?

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin uncertain.

Noun[edit]

snuff (uncountable)

  1. The burning part of a candle wick, or the black, burnt remains of a wick (which has to be periodically removed).
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II.3.3:
      his memory stinks like the snuff of a candle when it is put out [...].
    • Jonathan Swift
      If the burning snuff happens to get out of the snuffers, you have a chance that it may fall into a dish of soup.
  2. (obsolete) Leavings in a glass after drinking; heel-taps.
  3. (attributive) Pertaining to a form of pornographic film which involves someone's actually being murdered.
Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

snuff (third-person singular simple present snuffs, present participle snuffing, simple past and past participle snuffed)

  1. To extinguish a candle or oil-lamp flame by covering the burning end of the wick until the flame is suffocated.
  2. (slang) To kill a person; to snuff out.
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