What is the origin of chuffle?

Chuffle, “to make a low snuffling sound analogous to the purring of smaller cat species,” is likely of imitative origin, rendering in letters a close approximation of the sound in question. A comparable sound that steam engines emit is the source of the similar verbs chuff, chug, and even choo-choo. The ending, –le, is likely the frequentative suffix also found in verbs such as sparkle and twinkle, indicating repetitive action or motion.