sniff

1 of 2

verb

sniffed; sniffing; sniffs

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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

1
a
: 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

2 of 2

noun

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
But an unnamed woman caused a recent firestorm by claiming to be Cherrie in Facebook groups dedicated to finding her, which was doubted by her mom but has law enforcement sniffing around. Chris Eberhart, Fox News, 6 June 2024 Kipper Kipper is a 1.5-year-old husky mix who loves running outside, making new friends and sniff walks. Marina Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 30 Apr. 2024
Noun
Bedrooms are stripped back and country comfy without leaning too heavily into the more ubiquitous country-pile aesthetic—creamy oatmeals, subdued greens and pinks and yellows, not a sniff of chintz. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 13 Dec. 2023 The 24-year-old — who was honored as Billboard Women in Music’s 2024 Hitmaker — took a sniff of the Matasanos Hot Sauce and decided her time in the torture chamber was over. Michael Saponara, Billboard, 28 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for sniff 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sniff.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1767, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near sniff

Cite this Entry

“Sniff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sniff. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

sniff

1 of 2 verb
1
: to draw air into the nose in short breaths loud enough to be heard
sniffed at the cheese
2
: to show or express scorn
sniffed at simple jobs
3
: to smell or inhale by taking short breaths
sniff perfume
4
: to detect by or as if by smelling
sniff out trouble
sniffer noun

sniff

2 of 2 noun
1
: the act or sound of sniffing
2
: an odor or amount sniffed

More from Merriam-Webster on sniff

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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