sniff

verb
\ ˈsnif How to pronounce sniff (audio) \
sniffed; sniffing; sniffs

Definition of sniff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to inhale through the nose especially for smelling sniffed at the flowers
b : to take air into the nose in short audible breaths She sniffed and wiped her nose.
2 : to show or express disdain or scorn
3 : snoop, nose sniffed around for clues

transitive verb

1a : to get the odor or scent of (something) with the nose : smell sniffed the freshly baked cookies dogs sniffing the ground
b : to inhale (something) through the nose : snort sniffing cocaine
2 : to utter contemptuously
3 : to recognize or detect (something) by or as if by smelling usually used with outsniff out trouble

sniff

noun

Definition of sniff (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or sound of sniffing
2 : a quantity that is sniffed

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Synonyms for sniff

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of sniff in a Sentence

Verb She sniffed and wiped her nose with a tissue. She put perfume on her wrist and sniffed it. The dog sniffed the carpet. He held the flower up to his nose and sniffed. “I guess you don't need my help,” she sniffed. Noun She said that she felt fine, but her sniffs and coughs told a different story. “I refuse to answer that question,” she said with a sniff. He wanted to avoid the slightest sniff of a scandal. There was still a sniff of hope left for the team.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The dogs are learning odor imprinting and will sniff out the difference between positive and negative COVID-19 saliva and urine samples from the lab before testing their skills on humans. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Pet Wise: Can the amazing canine nose detect coronavirus? Doggone right it can.," 17 Oct. 2020 Ronin, a Dutch Shepherd, was trained to sniff for drugs and to capture criminals by grabbing them with his teeth, court records show. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "An ugly secret in Alabama: Police dog attacks," 13 Oct. 2020 On Sunday from his nose tackle position, Stewart tracked nearly halfway across the field to help sniff out a Cordarelle Patterson screen and tackle him at the line of scrimmage. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Stats fail to tell the story of how important Grover Stewart is to Colts defense," 9 Oct. 2020 Dogs only need 10 seconds to sniff the sample and will indicate the results through a method like laying down, paw scratching, or barking. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, "Coronavirus-sniffing Dogs Start Test Program in Helsinki Airport This Week," 23 Sep. 2020 Hielm-Bjorkman told The Associated Press that Finland is the second country after the United Arab Emirates – and the first in Europe – to assign dogs to sniff out the coronavirus. Jari Tanner, USA TODAY, "'Very promising method': Finland deploys coronavirus-sniffing dogs at main airport," 23 Sep. 2020 Hielm-Bjorkman told The Associated Press that Finland is the second country after the United Arab Emirates - and the first in Europe - to assign dogs to sniff out the coronavirus. Jari Tanner, chicagotribune.com, "Finland deploys coronavirus-sniffing dogs at main airport," 23 Sep. 2020 Investors also tend to sniff out an economic recovery long before Main Street can feel it. Matt Egan, CNN, "The simple thing Trump doesn't get about the stock market," 16 Sep. 2020 StockX also is unique for its network of authentication centers, where staff are trainer to sniff out fake merchandise. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Sneaker collector, cofounder of hot Detroit startup StockX departs," 15 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pret combines a sniff of indulgence (there is basil on the prosciutto; the granola has bite) with maximal efficiency and a dose of passive adrenaline. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Future of the Office Lunch," 28 Sep. 2020 Dogs, on the other hand, sample the whole tree with a sniff and pick up the scent of huanglongbing within a few weeks of infection and with remarkable accuracy. Stephanie Pain, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Tree-Killing Epidemics Are on the Rise," 28 Sep. 2020 An easy to way to check this is the simple sniff test. Joseph G. Allen, Anchorage Daily News, "It’s time to talk about how toilets may be spreading covid-19," 3 Sep. 2020 Flash-forward two years, when Sameer reportedly took a giant sniff of a cupcake that had just been served and felt pain within his nose. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, "'Mum, I found the Lego!': Boy Discovers Lego Piece in His Nose 2 Years After It Disappeared," 18 Aug. 2020 When someone takes a big sniff, molecules travel up the nose to the olfactory epithelium, a small piece of tissue at the back of the nasal cavity. Sara Harrison, National Geographic, "Many COVID-19 patients lost their sense of smell. Will they get it back?," 5 Aug. 2020 Each sip quietly pulled my attention back to my glass for another sniff of the black fruit and tobacco leaf aromas, signatures of the tempranillo grape. Dave Mcintyre Columnist, Washington Post, "At $12, these two white wines prove that pinot grigio doesn’t always mean boring," 10 July 2020 As experts have cast around for other screening tools, some have zeroed in on smell tests, which could be as simple asking people to identify a particular scent from a scratch-and-sniff card. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Fever checks are a flawed way to flag Covid-19 cases. Experts say smell tests might help," 2 July 2020 Providing a treat and some friendly, relaxed interaction along with a sniff of fabric can reinforce positive feelings. Elizabeth Greenwood, New York Times, "How to Introduce Pets to Babies," 16 Apr. 2020

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

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First Known Use of sniff

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1767, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sniff

Verb

Middle English

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Time Traveler for sniff

Time Traveler

The first known use of sniff was in the 14th century

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Statistics for sniff

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sniff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sniff. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for sniff

sniff

verb
How to pronounce sniff (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sniff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to take air into your nose in short breaths that are loud enough to be heard
: to smell (something or someone) by putting your nose close to it and taking air in through your nose in short breaths
: to take (something, such as fumes or a drug) into your body by inhaling it through your nose in order to get intoxicated

sniff

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sniff (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or the sound of drawing air into the nose especially in order to smell something or because you are sick or have been crying
: an expression of dislike or disapproval
: a small amount or sign of something

sniff

verb
\ ˈsnif How to pronounce sniff (audio) \
sniffed; sniffing

Kids Definition of sniff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to smell by taking short breaths sniff perfume
2 : to draw air into the nose in short breaths loud enough to be heard
3 : to say with scorn

sniff

noun

Kids Definition of sniff (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or sound of drawing air into the nose in short breaths (as to smell something) He took a sniff of the pie.
2 : an odor detected through the nose a sniff of sea air

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Comments on sniff

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