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[snif-ter] /ˈsnɪf tər/
Also called inhaler. a pear-shaped glass, narrowing at the top to intensify the aroma of brandy, liqueur, etc.
Informal. a very small drink of liquor.
Origin of snifter
1840-50; derivative of snifter to sniff, snivel, Middle English snyfter; imitative Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for snifter
Historical Examples
  • At sunset he quit, easy winner, and went without taking so much as a "snifter."

  • But picking up the sail in other blows and picking it up in a Cape Horn snifter is a horse of another color.

    The Viking Blood Frederick William Wallace
  • But he was just a snifter short on that potent and undisciplined drink.

  • For the love of goodness, Fritz, give me a snifter of tanglefoot!

    Frank Merriwell's Backers Burt L. Standish
  • He turned, snifter in hand, and it was easy to see that his privations had tried him sorely.

    Right Ho, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse
British Dictionary definitions for snifter


a pear-shaped glass with a short stem and a bowl that narrows towards the top so that the aroma of brandy or a liqueur is retained
(informal) a small quantity of alcoholic drink
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from dialect snifter to sniff, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish snifta (obsolete) to sniff
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for snifter

1844, "a drink of liquor," earlier "a sniff," from a Scottish and northern English survival of an obsolete verb snift meaning "to sniff, snivel" (mid-14c.), of imitative origin (cf. sniff (v.)). Meaning "large bulbous stemmed glass for drinking brandy" is from 1937. The association of "drinking liquor" with words for "inhaling, snuffling" (e.g. snort (n.), snootful) is perhaps borrowed from snuff-taking and the nasal reaction to it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for snifter



A cocaine user or addict: The Baron was ''a sniffer'' himself (1920s+ Narcotics)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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