sniff

verb
\ ˈsnif \
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 out sniff 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

nose, scent, smell, snuff, whiff

Synonyms: Noun

aroma, odor, redolence, scent, smell

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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

As the name suggests, GasBuddy helps sniff out deals on gasoline and diesel in the U.S. and Canada. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "Seriously, save money on gas, hotels and shopping with these 8 apps," 26 June 2018 Either these men had heard about my new situation or something about me, some post-apocalyptic air, had led them to sniff it out. Joseph O’neill, The New Yorker, "The First World," 21 June 2018 When a marcher curls up in pain, Mr. Patyal gives him a bottle of cleaning alcohol to sniff. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "A Grass-Roots Afghan Peace Movement Grows, Step by Step," 15 June 2018 My biggest takeaway from the day is how unbelievably incredible these professionals are to even sniff par on a layout that difficult. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "FORE Questions: Young Americans Are Dominating Professional Golf," 28 May 2018 And just like the dapper detective, fashion hounds have been sniffing out clues at every possible opportunity. Laura King, latimes.com, "So that's what you call them," 19 May 2018 The trail leads to Lake Michigan, and dogs do need to be on leashes, but there's still plenty to sniff. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "8 places you can bring your dog around Milwaukee this summer," 16 May 2018 Some of his throwaway observations, like the shot of a kid sniffing a highlighter pen in class, feel like something out of a wildlife documentary. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: Bo Burnham's 'Eighth Grade' is a beautifully honest portrait of adolescent girlhood," 11 July 2018 Houston Airport System officials said a K-9 at the airport sniffed out the package and alerted the officer handling him of suspicious material. Victoria Cheyne, Houston Chronicle, "Bomb squad deployed to IAH to investigate reported 'suspicious package'," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And koalas are fanatically choosy about their leafy greens, favoring the ones high in nutrition and water content and pausing to bury their adorable Yoda-like faces in the leaves for a big sniff before nibbling. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, "Koala genome shows how the adorable marsupial lives on eucalyptus leaves," 2 July 2018 Jorge Sampaoli's men had dominated possession from the first whistle, yet Iceland managed to keep them on their toes, looking keen to score with every sniff. SI.com, "Argentina 1-1 Iceland: Messi and Co Stunned by Steely Icelandic Side in World Cup Opener," 16 June 2018 But having to struggle so hard even for a sniff at sectional hardware is a sacrifice every player is happy to make. Chris Melchiorre, Philly.com, "St. Augustine's David Burr found lacrosse by accident," 17 May 2018 Herrera, meanwhile, never got a sniff on the top-prospects list with the Texas Rangers before being left exposed in the 2014 Rule 5 draft. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Want Manny Machado on the Phillies? Don't get attached to prospects | Bob Brookover," 6 July 2018 Yet even assuming that the Dunes group passes the conflict-of-interest sniff test, its plan to tear down the house, which has been closed since the Evanston Art Center moved out in 2015, makes little sense. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Evanston plan to demolish Harley Clarke mansion: Public vision or hidden agendas?," 13 July 2018 The athlete wandered up and gave a perfunctory sniff of hello to a stranger, then wandered away again. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "Meet Spitty, the Whippet Who Holds Five World Records," 22 June 2018 Pastore has only started nine games for the club this season and despite impressing at times, have barely been given a sniff all season. SI.com, "Arsenal Fans React to News That They Have Joined the Race to Sign PSG Midfielder," 28 Mar. 2018 Besides the Heat, no local pro team has had a sniff of playoff success in 15 years. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde: 10 rules for fans to survive our dismal sports scene | Commentary," 23 June 2018

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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Learn More about sniff

Dictionary Entries near sniff

sniddle

snide

snidery

sniff

sniff around/round

sniff at

sniffer

Phrases Related to sniff

sniff around/round

sniff at

Statistics for sniff

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sniff

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

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More Definitions for sniff

sniff

verb

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 \
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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