sniff·​er | \ ˈsni-fər How to pronounce sniffer (audio) \

Definition of sniffer

1 : one that sniffs: such as
a : someone who sniffs a drug or other substance in order to become intoxicated a cocaine/glue sniffer
b or less commonly sniffer dog : a dog that is trained to recognize and follow scents especially for the purpose of locating people or contraband (such as illicit drugs and explosives)
2 informal : nose Use your sniffer to detect unattractive or unhealthy odors.— Susan DeBow

Examples of sniffer in a Sentence

Sniffers were brought in to search bags at the airport.
Recent Examples on the Web The entire kit is an easy-to-use, useful tool for anyone concerned about getting busted by a critter’s sniffer before the moment of truth arrives. The Editors, Field & Stream, "The Best Cabela’s Cyber Monday Deals: Early Bargains Before the Holiday," 16 Nov. 2020 What better way to greet the trio of holiday wraiths than with Lego’s new Ecto-1 kit with 2352 pieces, including a moving ghost sniffer and extendable rear gunner placement. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, "This Week in Cars: VW and Greece Partner on an Island, Golf R Rolls Out, More," 7 Nov. 2020 More than five thousand rescue personnel and 20 sniffer dogs were deployed to find survivors, the disaster management agency said. Washington Post, "Death toll rises in powerful Aegean earthquake as Turkish rescuers race to find survivors," 31 Oct. 2020 The sniffer dogs who are trained to recognize the virus’s scent, detect it by smelling urine or sweat samples, according to the University of Helsinki. Iris Katz,, "Pet Wise: Can the amazing canine nose detect coronavirus? Doggone right it can.," 17 Oct. 2020 Helsinki Airport is piloting the use of sniffer dogs for detecting coronavirus infections among passengers. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "As Covid-19 Cases Surge, Europe Turns to New Testing Methods," 9 Oct. 2020 Wearing face masks and white clothes stitched with the colors of the Oromia region's flag, people in downtown Addis Ababa were subjected to at least six security checks complete with body searches and, in some areas, sniffer dogs. Elias Meseret, Star Tribune, "Tight security, many arrests for Ethiopian Irreecha festival," 3 Oct. 2020 Earlier this year, plant pathologist Tim Gottwald of the US Department of Agriculture reported results of trials with sniffer dogs. Stephanie Pain, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Tree-Killing Epidemics Are on the Rise," 28 Sep. 2020 News trending on Instagram included a post by the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper about sniffer dogs being trained to detect Covid-19 with near total accuracy. Charles Penty,, "Social Media Buzz: McGregor-Pacquiao Fight, Ron Paul, Florida," 26 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sniffer.' 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 sniffer

1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sniffer

Time Traveler

The first known use of sniffer was in 1864

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Statistics for sniffer

Last Updated

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sniffer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce sniffer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sniffer

: someone who sniffs a drug or other substance in order to become intoxicated
: a dog that is trained to find people, illegal drugs, explosives, etc., by recognizing and following scents

More from Merriam-Webster on sniffer

Nglish: Translation of sniffer for Spanish Speakers

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