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 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

On a recent morning, a CBP officer and his drug-sniffing German shepherd walked through 26 lanes packed with cars coming up from Tijuana into San Ysidro. Anchorage Daily News, "How fentanyl flowed through the U.S. Postal Service and across the southern border," 25 Aug. 2019 In the first incident, a 23-year-old man driving on Interstate 8 at the checkpoint near Pine Valley around noon Friday was told to go to secondary inspection after a drug-sniffing dog indicated his 2007 Cadillac CTS might be carrying narcotics. Karen Kucher, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Border Patrol agents seized $90K in heroin, arrested convicted sex offender over weekend," 13 Aug. 2019 For Jake the drug-sniffing K-9, Thursday’s mission should have been routine. J.d. Crowe | Jdcrowe@al.com, al.com, "Tribute to K9 Jake, the drug sniffing dog who died in the line of duty," 23 July 2019 Drug-sniffing dogs and police officers with keen eyes are hard at work taking narcotics off the streets around Houston. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "See some of the notable drug busts recently made by Houston area cops and K9s," 17 July 2019 The hope was to bring together the detective skills of a T-cell receptor and the destructive properties of an antibody: these were meant to be drug-sniffing dogs with sharp teeth. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, "The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies," 15 July 2019 The drug-sniffing dog alerted officers to the drugs, so narcotics officers were called to the scene. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Man arrested after 6 pounds of suspected cocaine found hidden in fire extinguishers, Cleveland police say," 14 June 2019 Bloody handprints were found in Christensen’s apartment, and a cadaver-sniffing dog at his home alerted to the presence of a dead body, according to prosecutors. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Ex-girlfriend's recordings critical as trial to begin in earnest into disappearance of Chinese scholar at U. of I.," 11 June 2019 Unlike cash, which is made of linen that can absorb drug residue and attract drug-sniffing dogs, debit cards can be easily cleaned. Nicole Hong, WSJ, "What El Chapo’s Trial Revealed: The Inner Workings of a $14 Billion Drug Empire," 12 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The twists don’t entirely hold up to a sniff test of believability but satisfy as emotional complications. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Williams and Moore face off in melodramatic ‘After the Wedding’," 22 Aug. 2019 The twists don’t entirely hold up to a sniff test of believability but satisfy as emotional complications. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Williams and Moore face off in melodramatic ‘After the Wedding’," 22 Aug. 2019 The twists don’t entirely hold up to a sniff test of believability but satisfy as emotional complications. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Williams and Moore face off in melodramatic ‘After the Wedding’," 22 Aug. 2019 The twists don’t entirely hold up to a sniff test of believability but satisfy as emotional complications. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore face off in the melodramatic ‘After the Wedding’," 8 Aug. 2019 On two of five subway lines, riders had a sniff at aromatherapy. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Riders in Vienna have opted for stale subway air over aromatherapy," 10 Aug. 2019 Better to give either or both the stem and blossom end a good sniff. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Get Cooking: How to select (and utilize) melon," 2 July 2019 When in doubt, ask someone close to you for a sniff test. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, "Work Advice: ‘Smelly’ co-workers give their side of the story," 12 July 2019 Admittedly, narrow preview builds mean devs could still be fooling us with some smoke and mirrors—this is E3, land of unfinished games—but all of the below demos presented well enough at E3 to pass our sniff test for hype and BS. Sam Machkovech And Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "The best games, demos, and tech of E3 2019," 14 June 2019

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

Statistics for sniff

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on sniff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sniff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sniff

Spanish Central: Translation of sniff

Nglish: Translation of sniff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sniff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sniff

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