A Dictionary of the English Language
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Snuff (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1871

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1871

Snuff. n.s. [snuf, Dutch, snot.]

  1. Snot. In this sense it is not used.

  2. The useless excrescence of a candle: whence moucher la chandelle.

                My great affliction,
    If I could bear longer, and not fall
    To quarrel with your opposeless wills,
    My snuff and loathed part of nature should
    Burn itself out.
    Shakesp. King Lear.

        But dearest heart, and dearer image, stay!
    Alas! true joys at best are dreams enough:
        Though you stay here, you pass too fast away;
    For even at first life's taper is a snuff.
    Donne.

    The snuff-dishes shall be of pure gold. Ex. xxv. 38.

    If the liquor be of a close and glutinous consistency, it may burn without any snuff, as we see in camphire, and some other bituminous substances; and most of the ancient lamps were of this kind, because none have been found with such wicks. Wilk.

  3. A candle almost burnt out.

                                Lamentable!
    To hide me from the radiant sun, and solace
    I' th' dungeon by a snuff.
    Shakesp. Cymbeline.

  4. The fired wick of a candle remaining after the flame.

    A torch, snuff and all, goes out in a moment, when dipped into the vapour. Addison on Italy.

  5. Resentment expressed by snifting; perverse resentment.

                What hath been seen
    Either in snuffs or packings of the duke's,
    Or the hard rein which both of them have borne
    Against the old kind king.
    Shakesp. King Lear.

    Jupiter took snuff at the contempt, and punished him: he sent him home again. L'Estrange.

  6. Powdered tobacco taken by the nose.

    Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew,
    A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw;
    The gnomes direct to ev'ry atom just
    The pungent grains of titillating dust.
    Pope.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Shakespeare's Cymbeline (73) · Donne, John (44) · The Bible - Exodus (25) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Wilkins, John (32)

Attributes: Dutch (90) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Snuff (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 26, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=15053.


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