\ ˈ(h)wif How to pronounce whiff (audio) \

Definition of whiff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a quick puff or slight gust especially of air, odor, gas, smoke, or spray
b : an inhalation of odor, gas, or smoke
c : a slight puffing or whistling sound
2 : a slight trace or indication a whiff of scandal


whiffed; whiffing; whiffs

Definition of whiff (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move with or as if with a puff of air
2 : to emit whiffs : puff
3 : to inhale an odor

transitive verb

1a : to carry or convey by or as if by a whiff : blow
b : to expel or puff out in a whiff : exhale
2 : fan sense 8 whiffed three batters

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Synonyms for whiff

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of whiff in a Sentence

Noun I got a whiff of new paint when I entered the room. I detected a whiff of sarcasm in her voice. The pitcher had eight whiffs during the game. Verb He whiffed a strong odor of perfume. The golfer nearly whiffed the shot. The golfer nearly whiffed on the shot.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun What flowers, plants, and herbs are your absolute favorite to get a whiff of in your garden or on your windowsill? From roses to lavender bushes, there's no shortage of plants and flowers that delight us with their scents. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "A Floral Expert Says These Flowers Smell Like Freshly Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies," 5 Aug. 2020 The last person to hold the job, Howard Forman, ran the office for 16 years with barely a whiff of scandal. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward clerk of courts race heats up headed into Aug. 18 primary," 3 Aug. 2020 Make sure to serve it warm to get a whiff of those wonderful aromas that rise up. Nik Sharma, SFChronicle.com, "Recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with Greek yogurt combines savory and creamy," 31 July 2020 Most newsrooms fiercely guard against any interference by advertisers with editorial content, any appearance of special treatment in exchange for ad dollars, any whiff of quid pro quo. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: Amid crisis, Pac-12 signed agreement to fund news coverage from Los Angeles Times," 30 July 2020 And yet, your letter has a whiff of helpless inertia about it. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, "Trapped by the pandemic in a job that was supposed to be short-term," 30 July 2020 Plus, subsequent campers don’t want to catch a whiff of old food rot. Matt Haines, CNN Underscored, "Why backcountry camping could be the perfect vacation this year," 9 July 2020 In the end, the district had to spend another $8,600 to send out a correction postcard, but for many, the episode left a whiff of voter suppression hanging over an election in which five black candidates were trying to crack open an all-white board. Jim Shultz, The New York Review of Books, "One Small Vote for Lockport, NY, One Giant Lesson for 2020 America," 7 July 2020 Their outsides have a robust whiff of smoke and are caramelized from the griddles; the insides steamy and soft. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "Wood-fired pupusas on an ample, friendly patio at Oakland’s Popoca," 3 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But McAvoy whiffed on the pass, and Ryan Carpenter raced the other way. BostonGlobe.com, "Recap: CHI 4, BOS 3 - F/OT," 5 Dec. 2019 The Chargers have a lot of key players in place but need a long-term solution under center after letting Philip Rivers leave before whiffing in the Tom Brady sweepstakes. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL mock draft 2020: How trades could drastically reshape first-round outlook," 30 Mar. 2020 Caufield, a four-year starter who is bound for North Carolina, gained redemption after grounding out to third in the first and whiffing in the fourth. Rick O'brien, Philly.com, "West Chester Henderson rallies late to earn first PIAA District 1 baseball title," 29 May 2018 The Celtics don’t have the size or skill to go all the way, and the Bruins lost another shootout the other night when one of their best players whiffed on a penalty shot. Dan Shaughnessy, BostonGlobe.com, "Are the championship days over in Boston?," 18 Jan. 2020 The Rangers whiffed on their big-money pitch for third baseman Anthony Rendon earlier this month and want another star to trot out for the opening of their new ballpark next spring. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Keeler: Will Nolan Arenado be the straw that breaks Jeff Bridich’s back?," 22 Dec. 2019 So the Padres are far from the only team whiffing all over the place. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres K more than ever, more than most," 25 Sep. 2019 On fourth and 1 from the Bills’ 41, the Patriots ran left with N’Keal Harry, but Mohamed Sanu whiffed on a block and Harry was stopped for no gain and a turnover on downs. BostonGlobe.com, "Twenty-four thoughts on the Patriots’ 24-17 win over the Bills . . .," 22 Dec. 2019 Our pro scout had better be on it as both (director of player personnel) Matt Russell and (college scouring coordinator) Dave Bratten totally whiffed at the draft. Ryan O'halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Mailbag: Does Joe Flacco have enough talent around him to succeed?," 23 July 2019

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


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1591, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for whiff



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Time Traveler for whiff

Time Traveler

The first known use of whiff was in 1591

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Statistics for whiff

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whiff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whiff. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for whiff


How to pronounce whiff (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of whiff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a slight smell of something : an odor that is weak
: a slight trace or indication



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

US, informal
: to notice (a smell)
of a pitcher : to cause (a batter) to be out by pitching three strikes
of a batter : to make an out by getting three strikes


\ ˈhwif How to pronounce whiff (audio) , ˈwif \

Kids Definition of whiff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small gust
2 : a small amount (as of a scent or a gas) that is breathed in … the east wind brought a whiff of exhaust smell from some passing car.— Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill
3 : hint entry 1 sense 2 His remark had a whiff of mischief.


whiffed; whiffing

Kids Definition of whiff (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : to breathe in an odor
3 : to fail to hit whiff a ball

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