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snuff someone out
Sl. to kill someone. Max really wanted to snuff the eyewiteness out, once and for all. Lefty wanted to snuff out his partner.
snuff something out
to extinguish something, such as a flame. she snuffed all the candles out and went to bed. Karen snuffed out the flames one by one.
snuff out somethingalso snuff something out
to put an end to something The bomber triggered his explosion and snuffed out the lives of 167 innocent people in that building. Before he could reach the top in his career, a scandal almost snuffed it out.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of snuff out (to stop a flame from burning)
1. Extinguish, put a sudden end to, as in Three young lives were snuffed out in that automobile accident. This usage alludes to snuff in the sense of "put out a candle by pinching the wick," an area itself called snuff from the late 1300s on. [Mid-1800s]
2. Kill, murder, as in If he told the police, the gang would snuff him out. [Slang; first half of 1900s]
3. Also, snuff it. Die or be killed, as in He looked very ill indeed, as though he might snuff out any day, or Grandpa just snuffed it. [Slang; second half of 1800s]
1. To extinguish something: The altar server snuffed out the candles. I saw her snuff a match out with her fingers.
2. To put a sudden end to something: The war has snuffed out many young lives. I had a promising career as a dancer, but a tragic injury snuffed it out.
3. Slang To kill someone; murder someone: The police accused the widow of snuffing out her husband. The gangsters snuffed him out before he could testify in court.