snif·​fle | \ ˈsni-fəl How to pronounce sniffle (audio) \
sniffled; sniffling\ ˈsni-​f(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce sniffling (audio) \

Definition of sniffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to sniff repeatedly : snuffle
2 : to speak with or as if with sniffling



Definition of sniffle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 sniffles plural : a head cold marked by nasal discharge
2 : an act or sound of sniffling

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Other Words from sniffle


sniffler \ ˈsni-​f(ə-​)lər How to pronounce sniffler (audio) \ noun

Examples of sniffle in a Sentence

Verb The children have been sniffling for a week now. “In your family's eyes,” she sniffled, “I'm not good enough.” Noun He couldn't stop his sniffles.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sleep deprived and sniffling, but still determined to make the most of the team’s final hours in Monterey, Prakash decides to immerse more traps at an abalone farm in the harbor. Emily Underwood, The Atlantic, "The Search for the World’s Simplest Animal," 8 June 2020 Local leaders held one more event, a Jan. 22 holiday gala at which musicians and actors were sniffling and sneezing, before the government acknowledged the severity of the problem. Ng Han Guan And Joe Mcdonald, The Christian Science Monitor, "Wuhan revives: From outbreak epicenter to forefront of hope," 30 Mar. 2020 Workers themselves are not thrilled to be entering households with sniffling children or coughing adults. Beth Landman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Coronavirus and the Ultra Wealthy: Yacht Staffing, Live-In Doctor Requests and the New Rules of Support Staff," 20 Mar. 2020 How a virus could spread Although some sick voters may stay home on Election Day, others will arrive coughing, sneezing and sniffling at their polling location. New York Times, "How Much Does Voting Spread Viruses?," 17 Mar. 2020 Though the novel coronavirus from China has dominated January health headlines, the Cincinnati region and the nation are sniffling, sneezing and coughing their way through a bruising season of influenza. Anne Saker,, "Coronavirus making headlines, but flu hitting seasonal peaks in Ohio, Kentucky," 31 Jan. 2020 As his aunt spoke about their relationship, McKinney dabbed his eyes with a tissue, sniffling. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Accused STEM shooter was on and off meds, previously suspended from school, witnesses testify," 19 Nov. 2019 For the one who goes through a lot of tissues: Como Trash Bin There's always a sneezing, sniffling person in the office who can't go through a box of tissues fast enough—I've been that person! Cassidy Olsen, USA TODAY, "20 great gifts your coworkers will actually use," 29 Oct. 2019 No wails or cries pierced the air in the church; mourners quietly sniffled and wiped away gentle tears in pews. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit community mourns and remembers Emma Hernandez, 9, at funeral," 24 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Normally a slight sniffle is no reason to cancel travel plans, but there is nothing normal about Summer 2020. Courtney Shea,, "Before You Plan Your Summer Road Trip, Read This," 30 June 2020 Children who are sick, even with a minor sniffle, will be required to stay home. USA TODAY, "Cincinnati Zoo, Lollapalooza, Glacier National Park: News from around our 50 states," 11 June 2020 View this post on Instagram On the way to the vet because this little one had the sniffles. Gina Vaynshteyn,, "Jeff Lowe From Tiger King Has Some Thoughts About The Popular Docuseries," 30 Mar. 2020 But those studies subsequently turned out to have relied too heavily on self-diagnoses from the runners about their sniffles. Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, "How Exercise May Affect Your Immunity," 10 Mar. 2020 More than a third became moderately ill, with evidence of pneumonia and other lung issues on top of the chills and sniffles. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Most Kids Only Get Mildly Sick From Covid-19—but Not All," 23 Mar. 2020 With a growing number of cases of the new coronavirus confirmed across the United States, having a sore throat or some sniffles might feel like a cause for concern. NBC News, "Worried you have the coronavirus? Here's exactly what you should do.," 2 Mar. 2020 And since most of us don't want to live in bubbles, that means allergy-prone folks are likely to suffer the sniffles their whole lives. Sara Chodosh, Popular Science, "Why do my allergies change as I age?," 20 Apr. 2020 Well before the emergence of the coronavirus, surgical masks have been a common sight on the city’s subways and buses, as people suffering from even a mild cough or sniffles wore them as a precaution against infecting others. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "A Glimpse of the Coronavirus’s Possible Legacy," 18 Mar. 2020

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


1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sniffle


frequentative of sniff

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Time Traveler for sniffle

Time Traveler

The first known use of sniffle was in 1632

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Statistics for sniffle

Last Updated

14 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sniffle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for sniffle


How to pronounce sniffle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sniffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to repeatedly take air into your nose in short breaths that are loud enough to be heard because you are sick or have been crying
: to say (something) while crying or sniffling



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

: an act or the sound of sniffling
informal : a slight or mild cold that causes you to sniffle a lot


snif·​fle | \ ˈsni-fəl How to pronounce sniffle (audio) \
sniffled; sniffling

Kids Definition of sniffle

1 : to sniff repeatedly
2 : to speak with sniffs The child sniffled about where it hurt.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sniffle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sniffle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sniffle

Spanish Central: Translation of sniffle

Nglish: Translation of sniffle for Spanish Speakers

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