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

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 The only member of the alliance who has the whiff of the rebel about him is Rory Stewart, who spent years wandering around dangerous bits of the world as a latter-day Lawrence of Arabia. The Economist, "The unlikely Tory rebels," 29 Aug. 2019 The movie also has the unmistakable whiff of the meta. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Brittany Runs A Marathon," 22 Aug. 2019 Angels hitters, who entered the night with the lowest whiff rate in baseball, swung and missed at an astonishing 24 pitches. Los Angeles Times, "Felix Peña can’t repeat last week’s no-hit magic as Astros rout Angels," 17 July 2019 Compare that with a whiff rate of just 11 percent for pitches low and over the middle of the plate. Julian Mcwilliams, BostonGlobe.com, "Michael Chavis is ahead of schedule in his Red Sox career," 27 June 2019 With three senators speaking out against it, the project had a whiff that repelled investors. Russell Gold, WSJ, "Building the Wind Turbines Was Easy. The Hard Part Was Plugging Them In," 22 June 2019 The whirl of trench coats and cocktails and midnight meetings on park benches has the heady whiff of classic old-fashioned spy storytelling, but filtered, too, through Prescott’s thoroughly modern lens. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "The Secrets We Kept is a crackling, female-centered spy thriller rooted in real life," 28 Aug. 2019 Six whiffs on 15 pitches including this one to strike out Domingo Leyba. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "SF Giants’ Johnny Cueto has a chance to pop champagne on rehab assignment," 26 Aug. 2019 Journalists were once rabidly interested at even the whiff of misuse of federal power by the CIA and FBI. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: A.G. Bill Barr must find true reasons for Trump/Russia probe," 27 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Washington whiffed just 10 times and struck out thrice. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros drop Game 6 of World Series to Nationals," 30 Oct. 2019 Two lengthy streaks are on the line: Former Saban assistants have come to bat against him 18 times and all have whiffed; the Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) also has won a dozen straight in this traditional interstate rivalry. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pruitt, Tennessee trying to halt losing streak vs No. 1 Bama," 18 Oct. 2019 In the third, Blackmon roped a one-out double, but Strasburg whiffed Story and Dahl. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Nationals’ Trea Turner hits for cycle against Rockies, who lose for 14th time in 17 games," 23 July 2019 After disavowing his famous hurdles, Alabama’s leading rusher leaped over Roderick’s whiffed tackle. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Najee Harris explains what happened on wild hurdling touchdown," 15 Sep. 2019 But Lewerke also needs time to set his feet, which became a struggle as Reid continually whiffed on Tulsa defensive end Trevis Gipson and others up front failed to show improvement from a year ago. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's offense must show progress or risk losing fans — and a few games," 1 Sep. 2019 The first sack came when tight end Jake Paulson whiffed on a block in the second quarter. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "P.J. Fleck’s takeaway on Gophers’ too-close Game 1 victory: ‘We’ve got to block better’," 30 Aug. 2019 The Cardinals whiffed only five times against 38 breaking pitches. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Carlos Correa's grand slam sparks Astros past Cardinals," 27 July 2019 The Cardinals whiffed at only one of Webb’s 40 fastballs as shortstop Paul DeJong put the Giants in an early hole by slugging a 0-1 heater left out over the middle of the plate for a two-run homer to dead center field in the bottom of the first. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants use 20 players (nine rookies) in loss that highlights 2019 season’s theme," 5 Sep. 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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Statistics for whiff

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for whiff

The first known use of whiff was in 1591

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on whiff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whiff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whiff

Spanish Central: Translation of whiff

Nglish: Translation of whiff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whiff for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whiff

Comments on whiff

What made you want to look up whiff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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