[ snif ]
/ snɪf /

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to perceive by or as by smelling: to sniff a scandal.
to inhale through the nose: to sniff the air.


Origin of sniff

1300–50; Middle English; back formation from snivel


sniff·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sniffing

British Dictionary definitions for sniffing

/ (snɪf) /


to inhale through the nose, usually in short rapid audible inspirations, as for the purpose of identifying a scent, for clearing a congested nasal passage, or for taking a drug or intoxicating fumes
(when intr, often foll by at) to perceive or attempt to perceive (a smell) by inhaling through the nose


the act or sound of sniffing
a smell perceived by sniffing, esp a faint scent

Derived forms of sniff

sniffing, noun, adjective

Word Origin for sniff

C14: probably related to snivelen to snivel
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