Student or Learner
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.
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.
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?
Keannu, the following is the definition of "huff" from the Oxford Dictionary:
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.
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?