"to cut or pinch off the burned part of a candle wick," mid-15c., from noun snoffe "burned part of a candle wick" (late 14c.), of unknown origin, perhaps related to snuff (v.2). The meaning "to die" is from 1865; that of "to kill" is from 1932; snuff-film, originally an urban legend, is from 1975.
"draw in through the nose," 1520s, from Dutch or Flemish snuffen "to sniff, snuff," related to Dutch snuiven "to sniff," from Proto-Germanic *snuf- (cf. Middle High German snupfe, German Schnupfen "head-cold"), imitative of the sound of drawing air through the nose (see snout). Related: Snuffed; snuffing.
"powdered tobacco to be inhaled," 1680s, from Dutch or Flemish snuf, shortened form of snuftabak "snuff tobacco," from snuffen "to sniff, snuff" (see snuff (v.2)). The practice became fashionable in England c.1680. Slang phrase up to snuff "knowing, sharp, wide-awake, not likely to be deceived" is from 1811; the exact sense is obscure unless it refers to the "elevating" properties of snuff.
v. snuffed, snuff·ing, snuffs
To inhale something audibly through the nose; sniff. n.
A preparation of finely pulverized tobacco that can be drawn up into the nostrils by inhaling.
A medicated powder inhaled through or blown into the nose.
[1811+; origin uncertain; the original British sense was ''shrewd, not gullible,'' apparently referring to the fact that one could be blinded with snuff in the eyes and victimized; the early 1800s US phrases in high (or great) snuff, ''in good form, high fettle, etc,'' perhaps having to do with snuff as an aristocratic commodity and symbol, may also be related]
Showing or doing murder, esp the killing of women in sadistic shows or orgies: the snuff murder of an abused and homeless teenaged girl/ the vogue of the snuff film (1975+)
To kill: more chillingly, STRESS snuffed at least 20 civilians/ Garlic never snuffed me (1973+)
[fr the idea of snuffing out a flame; found by 1884 in the form snuff out]