If I have a candle which is lightning and I want to stop it by my touching the wick and stop it mechanically by my fingers at the moment because I want to sleep. Do I want to extinguish it, or to put it out, or to blow it out?

What verb usually describes this action in the spoken English?

  • Snuff out seems the most idiomatic phrase. Jun 19, 2020 at 11:19

1 Answer 1


If you are using your fingers you are not blowing it out. Extinguish or put out are both OK (the first is a bit more formal). If you are actually pinching the wick between finger and thumb you could even say you are pinching it out

Incidentally, lightning is what comes with thunder. A burning candle is alight.

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