- to draw air through the nose in short, audible inhalations.
- to clear the nose by so doing; sniffle.
- to smell by short inhalations.
- to show disdain, contempt, etc., by or as by sniffing.
- to perceive by or as by smelling: to sniff a scandal.
- to inhale through the nose: to sniff the air.
- an act of sniffing; a single, short, audible inhalation.
- the sound made by such an act.
- a scent or odor perceived: a sniff of perfume.
Origin of sniff
Examples from the Web for sniffing
Sniffing Tory conspiracies under every Whitehall bed, ours specially?Iran’s Top Spy Is the Modern-Day Karla, John Le Carré’s Villainous Mastermind
July 2, 2014
A dirty red dog stands at the corner of Beale and Hernando, sniffing the air.Stanley Booth on the Life and Hard Times of Blues Genius Furry Lewis
June 7, 2014
We found old Hawberk, neatly attired in a fresh spring suit, standing at the door of his shop and sniffing the air.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show
Robert W. Chambers
February 20, 2014
The new dog was incredibly nervous and on edge, patrolling the halls, sniffing in closets, and climbing on and under furniture.Back Home, Service Dogs Sleep in Beds—and Sniff the Sofa for Mines
September 23, 2012
There was a lot of smelling and sniffing and touching involved.Colin Farrell Licked Me!
August 19, 2011
She moved about the room, sniffing and sobbing as she dusted.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
Women were in the habit of sniffing when Mrs. Tremain's name was mentioned.In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories
William, who had been sniffing dubiously at the man in the chair, dashed after them.Jan and Her Job
L. Allen Harker
He examined them on all sides, sniffing and looking inquisitively at their faces.The Fortune of the Rougons
He was sniffing at a plate containing a mixture of meat and fish.The Fat and the Thin
- 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
Word Origin and History for sniffing
mid-14c., of imitative origin; possibly related to snyvelen (see snivel). As an expression of scorn or contempt from 1729. As a synonym for smell (v.) it dates from 1845. In reference to cocaine from 1925. Related: Sniffed; sniffing.
1767, from sniff (v.); the scornful sense is from 1859.