sneeze

1 of 2

verb

sneezed; sneezing

intransitive verb

: to make a sudden violent spasmodic audible expiration of breath through the nose and mouth especially as a reflex act
sneezer noun

sneeze

2 of 2

noun

: an act or instance of sneezing
Phrases
sneeze at
informal : to make light of
always used in negative statements to indicate something that is important or deserves attention
… a red ribbon for second place is not to be sneezed at or scorned.Richard Peck
Perquisites and severance pay are nothing to sneeze at [=are significant]

Example Sentences

Verb She was constantly sneezing and coughing.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
After measuring how quickly the elephant could use its trunk to suck up water, the researchers calculated that elephant noses could inhale at speeds exceeding 490 feet per second, or almost 30 times as fast as humans can sneeze out of ours. New York Times, 1 June 2021 Customers can sneeze or cough on the items or flout cocktail party etiquette and spear subsequent samples with the same toothpick. Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2020 The World Health Organization has recommended half that distance — and only when people are coughing or sneezing. Catherine Marfin, Dallas News, 5 May 2020 People should also avoid touching their faces and cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing. Nicole Chavez, CNN, 28 Mar. 2020 Health officials also offered these ways to prevent spreading a flu virus: Cover your nose and mouth with tissue when sneezing or coughing. Terry Demio, Cincinnati.com, 13 Dec. 2019 Practice good hygiene: wash your hands with soap and water frequently, cough and sneeze into your elbow, avoid touching your face. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 5 Apr. 2020 Cough or sneeze into a tissue, and then throw it away. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 20 Mar. 2020 Using dress up, Brandon Bear at one point imagines himself a hero and along with Persona shows kids how to wash their hands and cover their mouths when coughing or sneeze into a tissue or elbow. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Mar. 2020
Noun
Masks can contain droplets and particles when people breathe, cough or sneeze. Dallas News, 12 Aug. 2022 The spread of disease -- person to person, through a sneeze or a loud exclamation, or via an unwashed surface -- has been a hot topic of conversation in recent years. Anna Kaufman, USA TODAY, 8 Dec. 2022 More rarely, droplets from a sneeze or cough of someone who has polio can infect someone else, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Erin Prater, Fortune, 1 Dec. 2022 An infected person can pass on RSV through a cough or sneeze. Jen Christensen, CNN, 15 Nov. 2022 An infected person can pass on RSV through a cough or sneeze. Jen Christensen, CNN, 15 Nov. 2022 Don’t shrug off that sneeze or scratch at the back of your throat. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Oct. 2022 More rarely, droplets from a sneeze or cough of someone who has polio can infect someone else, according to the CDC. Erin Prater, Fortune, 13 Sep. 2022 Patients generally get infected through the mouth, typically by hands contaminated with an infected person’s fecal matter, but the virus also can spread through an infected person’s sneeze or cough. Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sneeze.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English snesen, alteration of fnesen, from Old English fnēosan; akin to Middle High German pfnūsen to snort, sneeze, Greek pnein to breathe

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1646, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sneeze was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sneeze

Cite this Entry

“Sneeze.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sneeze. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

sneeze

verb
ˈsnēz
sneezed; sneezing
: to force the breath out through the nose or mouth in a sudden violent noisy action
sneeze noun
sneezer noun

Medical Definition

sneeze

1 of 2 intransitive verb
sneezed; sneezing
: to make a sudden violent spasmodic audible expiration of breath through the nose and mouth especially as a reflex act following irritation of the nasal mucous membrane

sneeze

2 of 2 noun
: an act or instance of sneezing

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