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    keannu's Avatar
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    huff and snuff and doornail

    What kind of action is "huff" and "snuff"? Do you huff not to sneeze? Why did he snuff? What is a doornail? Is it an antique thing? Can someone describe it briefly?

    ex) From 3 little pigs.
    ...I was just about to go home without the cup of sugar for my dear old granny's birthday cake. That's when my nose started to itch. I felt a sneeze coming on. Well I huffed. And I snuffed. And I sneezed a great sneeze.
    And you know what? That whole darn straw house fell down. And righ in the middle of the pile of straw was the First Little Pig-dead as a doornail.

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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail


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    iKitty is offline Junior Member
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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    NOT A TEACHER

    To huff means to breathe out heavily, as you do when you have been running. As far as I know the only meaning of snuff as a verb is the act of extinguishing a candle – however,to snuffle is to breathe noisily as you do when you have a head cold with a runny nose. In this context, the writer is using snuff to rhyme with huff, but with the meaning of snuffle.

    Dead as a doornail is a saying, which means dead or useless. The exact meaning of doornail has been slightly lost, but the nail part likely means a nail that has been bent or had its head hammered to the point that it could not be used again.

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    JohnParis is offline Senior Member
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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    Wow - this sure isn't the "Three Little Pigs" I learned as a kid (The Three Little Pigs) !

  5. #5
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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    Quote Originally Posted by iKitty View Post
    NOT A TEACHER

    To huff means to breathe out heavily, as you do when you have been running. As far as I know the only meaning of snuff as a verb is the act of extinguishing a candle – however,to snuffle is to breathe noisily as you do when you have a head cold with a runny nose. In this context, the writer is using snuff to rhyme with huff, but with the meaning of snuffle.

    Why does dictionary describe "huff" as "behaving in a bad-tempered way as you are annoyed and offended", it doesn't seem to say "you are breathing out". And for "snuff" isn't it "you breathe in hard", Didn't he do both the actions to stop sneezing?

    Dead as a doornail is a saying, which means dead or useless. The exact meaning of doornail has been slightly lost, but the nail part likely means a nail that has been bent or had its head hammered to the point that it could not be used again.

    Why does dictionary describe "huff" as "behaving in a bad-tempered way as you are annoyed and offended", it doesn't seem to say "you are breathing out". And for "snuff" isn't it "you breathe in hard", Didn't he do both the actions to stop sneezing?

    Is it a big nail not a round doorknob? Can you explain what it is in the picture?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 7400309-doornail-and-door-knockers-in-the-temple-of-heaven-in-beijing.jpg  

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    It's a rapper or a knocker.

    Doornail.

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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    Keannu, the following is the definition of "huff" from the Oxford Dictionary:

    huff |həf|
    verb [ intrans. ]
    1. blow out loudly; puff : he was huffing under a heavy load.
    • [ trans. ] express (one's annoyance or offense) : he huffed out his sudden irritation.

    Please note that the first and preferred definition (marked, for your convenience, by the number "1"), is to blow out loudly.
    Please tell me if there is there anything you do not understand in this definition.

    From the same dictionary, here is the definition of "snuff": note that the word "snuff" is primarily used as a verb, but it is also a noun, with a completely different meaning.

    snuff |snəf| verb

    • extinguish (a candle or flame):a breeze snuffed out the candle
    • trim the charred wick from (a candle).
    • informal kill or put an end to in an abrupt or sudden manner:his life was snuffed out by a sniper’s bullet
    • [no object] (snuff it) British informal die:the old girl’s snuffed it

    snuff 2 |snəf| |snʌf| noun

    powdered tobacco that is sniffed up the nostril rather than smoked : a pinch of snuff.

    If the author of your story used the word "snuff" to refer to an act of breathing, he was employing poetic license to describe the physical action necessary to inhale snuff (the noun) into the nasal passages. This action is "to sniff", not "to snuff". But since they sound so close, the author may have just used snuff because it rhymes with huff.

    Concerning your picture, it appears to be some sort of apparatus used to pull shut or to pull open something (a door or a window cover, perhaps?). The metal loop seems to be for inserting a finger or two to exert a pulling action. It is not a nail.

    John

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    It's a rapper or a knocker.
    Now that I've taken a better look at the picture, I'm beginning to doubt it's a doorknocker. The metal loop seems a bit too small to be convenient. John Paris may be correct, but perhaps you do know for sure, Keannu, how this object is used? This would help us find a proper word. Is the heart-shaped part a head of a bolt?

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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Now that I've taken a better look at the picture, I'm beginning to doubt it's a doorknocker. The metal loop seems a bit too small to be convenient. John Paris may be correct, but perhaps you do know for sure, Keannu, how this object is used? This would help us find a proper word. Is the heart-shaped part a head of a bolt?
    It looks very much like a bell - shaped like a bicycle bell, but in this case you lift the ring (loop) and twist it.
    (Or not, of course).

  10. #10
    keannu's Avatar
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    Re: huff and snuff and doornail

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnParis View Post
    Keannu, the following is the definition of "huff" from the Oxford Dictionary:

    huff |həf|
    verb [ intrans. ]
    1. blow out loudly; puff : he was huffing under a heavy load.
    • [ trans. ] express (one's annoyance or offense) : he huffed out his sudden irritation.

    Please note that the first and preferred definition (marked, for your convenience, by the number "1"), is to blow out loudly.
    Please tell me if there is there anything you do not understand in this definition.

    From the same dictionary, here is the definition of "snuff": note that the word "snuff" is primarily used as a verb, but it is also a noun, with a completely different meaning.

    snuff |snəf| verb

    • extinguish (a candle or flame):a breeze snuffed out the candle
    • trim the charred wick from (a candle).
    • informal kill or put an end to in an abrupt or sudden manner:his life was snuffed out by a sniper’s bullet
    • [no object] (snuff it) British informal die:the old girl’s snuffed it
    snuff 2 |snəf| |snʌf| noun

    powdered tobacco that is sniffed up the nostril rather than smoked : a pinch of snuff.

    If the author of your story used the word "snuff" to refer to an act of breathing, he was employing poetic license to describe the physical action necessary to inhale snuff (the noun) into the nasal passages. This action is "to sniff", not "to snuff". But since they sound so close, the author may have just used snuff because it rhymes with huff.

    Concerning your picture, it appears to be some sort of apparatus used to pull shut or to pull open something (a door or a window cover, perhaps?). The metal loop seems to be for inserting a finger or two to exert a pulling action. It is not a nail.

    John
    Okay, in the story, why did the wolf huff(exhale) and snuff(sniff=inhale) before sneezing? To stop sneezing?
    For the picture, I just happend to get it on the internet, but I want to know what "doornail" is used for. Is it an ornament attached on the doorknob for decoration or practical use?

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