an English question

@dufresne (137)
China
May 22, 2009 8:24pm CST
In the sentence "We're very much up to snuff about our own national events,but we are less aware of what's happening in other countries.", what does "snuff about" mean,and I hope you could give me a little explanation about why the phrase can be used to mean it?
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3 responses
@phyrre (2324)
• United States
25 May 09
Like the others have said, "up to snuff" is the phrase you're confused about, not "snuff about". It's slang, so it wouldn't be ok to use in any formal context. Basically it just means that they know all the recent things that are happening, or, like someone already said, they're up-to-date about things. :) I'm not exactly sure why the phrase is used to mean that. It is an idiom, meaning a phrase that does not translate cleanly to other languages, but is meant to represent a certain thing (like the common phrase "hit the road" means leave and does not mean to literally hit the road). However, if you want to know a little more about how this saying came to be, here is a link to a good site that gives a few theories about where this idiom came from: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-upt1.htm
• United States
24 May 09
use the phrase as "up to snuff",not as snuff about,or it'll confuse you. up to snuff means basically very knowledgeable about the subject in question, so if they were "up to snuff about our own national events" it would mean they know everything currently going on about their own country to the present day. you might also see "up to date" in english used in place of "up to snuff".
• United States
23 May 09
uo to snuff means that they are aware of what is happening, they are filled in on all of the events. You could also say that something is not up to snuff, that would mean that it is not sufficent. For example: I studied hard for the exam but my scores were just not up to snuff. Meaning I did not do as well as I needed to. It is actually not a phrase that would be used in a formal setting but would be acceptable in a casual setting with friends.