What Does the Expression “Snuffed Out” Mean and Where Did the Saying Come From?

Snuff, of course, is a pulverized tobacco that is inhaled through the nostrils.

During the eighteenth century in Ireland, it was a common custom to place a dish of snuff inside the coffin so that those at the wake could enjoy a pinch while they said their final farewell.

One woman loved the tobacco smell so much that she had her coffin filled with snuff and two bushels distributed among the guests.

This custom gave us the expression “snuffed out.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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