Entries linking to snootful
"the nose," 1861, originally a Scottish English variant of snout.
word-forming element attached to nouns (and in modern English to verb stems) and meaning "full of, having, characterized by," also "amount or volume contained" (handful, bellyful); from Old English -full, -ful, which is full (adj.) become a suffix by being coalesced with a preceding noun, but originally a separate word. Cognate with German -voll, Old Norse -fullr, Danish -fuld. Most English -ful adjectives at one time or another had both passive ("full of x") and active ("causing x; full of occasion for x") senses.
It is rare in Old English and Middle English, where full was much more commonly attached at the head of a word (for example Old English fulbrecan "to violate," fulslean "to kill outright," fulripod "mature;" Middle English had ful-comen "attain (a state), realize (a truth)," ful-lasting "durability," ful-thriven "complete, perfect," etc.).
1844, "a small drink of liquor, a 'nip,' " from a Scottish and northern English survival of an obsolete verb snifter "to sniffle," frequentative of snift "to sniff, snivel" (mid-14c., snifter), ultimately of imitative origin (compare sniff (v.)), but perhaps to English via a Scandinavian source (compare Old Danish snifte, Swedish snyfta).
The meaning "large bulbous stemmed glass for drinking brandy" is attested from 1937. The association of "drinking liquor" with words for "inhaling, snuffling" (such as snort (n.), snootful) is perhaps from snuff-taking and the nasal reaction to it. In Scottish and Northern England dialect snifter (n.) also had various senses, such as "a strong wind," "a bad head-cold," "snuff."
updated on October 03, 2012