A Dictionary of the English Language
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Snuff (verb active)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1871

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1871

To Snuff. v.a. [snuffen, Dutch.]

  1. To draw in with the breath.

    A heifer will put up her nose, and snuff in the air against rain. Bacon.

                With delight he snuff'd the smell
    Of mortal change on earth.
    Milton's Paradise Lost.

    He snuffs the wind, his heels the sand excite;
    But when he stands collected in his might,
    He roars and promises a more successful fight.

                The youth
    Who holds the nearest station to the light,
    Already seems to snuff the vital air,
    And leans just forward on a shining spear.
    Dryden's Æn.

    My troops are mounted; their Numidian steeds
    Snuff up the wind, and long to scour the desart.

    My nag's greatest fault was snuffing up the air about Brackdenstown, whereby he became such a lover of liberty, that I could scarce hold him in. Swift.

  2. To scent.

    The cow looks up, and from afar can find
    The change of heav'n, and snuffs it in the wind.

    For thee the bulls rebellow through the groves,
    And tempt the stream, and snuff their absent loves.

    O'er all the blood-hound boasts superior skill,
    To scent, to view, to turn, and boldly kill!
    His fellows vain alarms rejects with scorn,
    True to the master's voice, and learned horn:
    His nostrils oft, if ancient fame sing true,
    Trace the fly felon through the tainted dew:
    Once snuffd, he follows with unalter'd aim,
    Nor odours lure him from the chosen game;
    Deep-mouth'd he thunders, and inflam'd he views,
    Springs on relentless, and to death pursues.

  3. To crop the candle.

    The late queen's gentlewoman!
    To be her mistress' mistress!
    This candle burns not clear: 'tis I must snuff it,
    And out it goes.
    Shakesp. Henry VIII.

    Against a communion-day our lamps should be better dressed, and our lights snuffed, and our religion more active. Taylor's worthy Communicant.

    You have got
    An office for your talents fit,
    To snuff the lights, and stir the fire,
    And get a dinner for your hire.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · Milton, John (449) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Taylor, Jeremy (57) · Tickell, Thomas (12)

Attributes: Dutch (90) · Verb Active (289)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Snuff (verb active)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: December 4, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/snuff-verb-active/.

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