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[snif-ee] /ˈsnɪf i/
adjective, sniffier, sniffiest. Informal.
inclined to sniff, as in scorn; disdainful; supercilious:
He was very sniffy about breaches of etiquette.
Origin of sniffy
First recorded in 1865-70; sniff + -y1
Related forms
sniffily, adverb
sniffiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sniffy
Historical Examples
  • If she thinks people are unkind to Daisy or sniffy about her, she'll stick to her like a leech.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • There was the father mouse, and the mother mouse, and Sharpeyes, and sniffy.

    The Child's World Hetty Browne, Sarah Withers, W.K. Tate
  • In the superfine circles of the sniffy, this fact is sufficient to condemn them unread.

    Side Lights James Runciman
  • And—to his shame Raymond heard it gleefully—she had a "sniffy little cold" that made going out impossible.

    The Shield of Silence Harriet T. Comstock
  • Then when Amy was so sniffy—excuse me, Amy—about having boys in the party, why, I had to promise not to tell.

    Amy in Acadia Helen Leah Reed
  • Squeaky lay in the box all night, and wondered what sniffy and Sharpeyes were doing.

    The Child's World Hetty Browne, Sarah Withers, W.K. Tate
  • This you will find obscure, but study it well—though strictly in private, so as not to give me away as a sniffy critic.

British Dictionary definitions for sniffy


adjective -fier, -fiest
(informal) contemptuous or disdainful
Derived Forms
sniffily, adverb
sniffiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for sniffy



Disdainful; haughtily fastidious; fault-finding: even the sniffiest of lexicographers

[1871+; fr the mien of a person who often seems to be smelling something nasty]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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