up to snuff

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up to snuff (comparative more up to snuff, superlative most up to snuff)

  1. (slang) Adequate; of acceptable quality; satisfying an appropriate standard.
    • 1945, "State of the Nation's Health," Time, 15 Jan.:
      About 40% of U.S. counties lack full-time public-health service. . . . Many registered hospitals are not up to snuff.
  2. (chiefly Britain, dated, slang) Mentally alert, shrewd, savvy.
    • 1846, Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, ch. 31:
      "Dombey," says the Major, with appropriate action, "that is the hand of Joseph Bagstock: of plain old Joey B. . . . a rough and tough, and possibly an up-to-snuff, old vagabond."
    • 1904, P. G. Wodehouse, William Tell Told Again, ch. 7:
      But the people, who prided themselves on being what they called üppen zie schnuffen, or, as we should say, "up to snuff," and equal to every occasion, had already seen a way out of the difficulty.


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