\ 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 Now the billionaire’s name pops up as soon as there is a whiff of a deal in the industry. Bloomberg.com, "Billionaire Owner of Geely Still Wants Iconic British Brands," 8 May 2020 And despite an informal website with a whiff of Blogspot template, this is a Jeff Bezos project. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Jeff Bezos Is Building a 10,000-Year Clock Inside a Mountain," 27 Apr. 2020 The proceedings carried the league’s customary whiff of arrogance. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "49ers did what they could, but coronavirus-altered NFL draft was boring," 23 Apr. 2020 Both song and video give off a faint whiff of serioludere, with their intentionally broad gestures toward rock-star preening. Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal," 21 Apr. 2020 Al-Al got the Tigers to two outs, with a whiff of Shane Victorino, but gave up a single to Dustin Pedroia to load the bases for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers: Solving the greatest 'What ifs' of the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 Fiat tries mightily to provide the 500L with a whiff of trendiness by endowing the 500L’s trim levels with such names as Pop, Trekking, Urbana and Lounge. Larry Printz, chicagotribune.com, "The least popular car in America is practical and affordable. So why isn’t it selling?," 6 Dec. 2019 That vinaigrette, sweet and savory with a whiff of the docks, is an instant classic. Fortune, "Philadelphia’s Pizzeria Beddia Wants to Be More Than Just the ‘Best Pizza in America’," 22 Sep. 2019 There’s a wild urgency, a defiant sexiness to these moments, which carries a whiff or two of the choreographer Twyla Tharp. New York Times, "Review: A Choreographer Finds Her Bliss in Bach," 14 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Toronto touched him for three hits while whiffing 16 times. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Yordan Alvarez, Astros pulverize Blue Jays, 15-2," 14 June 2019 After Thames’ double in the sixth, Verlander went on another strikeout spree, whiffing seven of the next eight hitters. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 6, Astros 3 (14): Brewers claim another marathon despite striking out 24 times," 12 June 2019 In 2015, opposing hitters whiffed on 17.2 percent of the sliders/cutters that Arrieta threw. David Murphy, Philly.com, "Jake Arrieta's fastball not the only thing that's changed | David Murphy," 13 Mar. 2018

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

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whiff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whiff. Accessed 27 May. 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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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

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