[snif-uh l]
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verb (used without object), snif·fled, snif·fling.
  1. to sniff repeatedly, as from a head cold or in repressing tears: She sniffled woefully.
  1. an act or sound of sniffling.
  2. sniffles, a condition, as a cold, marked by sniffling (usually preceded by the): This draft is giving me the sniffles.

Origin of sniffle

First recorded in 1625–35; sniff + -le
Related formssnif·fler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sniffle


  1. (intr) to breathe audibly through the nose, as when the nasal passages are congested
  1. the act, sound, or an instance of sniffling
Derived Formssniffler, nounsniffly, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for sniffle

1819, frequentative form of sniff (v.). Related: Sniffled; sniffling. The sniffles "runny nose, head cold" is recorded from 1825. Sniffly (1897) tends to refer to physical symptoms, while sniffy (1858) means "scornful, disdainful and disagreeable." Snuffy "annoyed" is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper