We often say turn off the lights. Is it correct to say turn off the lamp when referring to a non-electric lamp (lit by fire)? That doesn't sound proper. Which is the better phrase to use there?
If the lamp is lit by actual fire, I'd probably say:
Put out the lamp.
This is like how you "put out" a barbeque or a camping fire.
Note that, at least where I am, "lamp" and "light" are now synonymous and it took me a while to figure out what difference you were implying between the electric lightbulb and your "lamp".
you can use douse the lamp or extinguish the lamp for a fire-lit lamp.
A single word for ending fires of all kinds: extinguish:
(transitive) to put out, as in fire; to end burning; to quench
This works for all kinds of flame lamps equally well (as does the original, put out):
- candles: snuff, snuff out, put out, extinguish
- gas lights: turn off, put out, extinguish
- oil lamps: turn off, put out, extinguish
- burning torches: douse, put out, extinguish
"Extinguish" and "put out" also appropriate for electric lights, for which I'd not use any of the other terms above.
"Turn out the lamp" was also used more than 'off' in the times when lamps were oil or gas - see this ngram search.
Snuff or Snuff out applies specifically to lights based on fire: lamps, candles, torches. It's perhaps a little bit old fashioned (though so are fire-based lights!)
Your two choices in your scenario are
Turn off the lamp.
which is most idiomatic. Another possibility might be
Shut off the lamp.
but less often used.
Blow out is an other precise phrase which can be used in this context.
Be extinguished by an air current.
She blew out the candles, posed graciously for countless photographs and accepted cheek kisses galore.