[snif-uh l]

verb (used without object), snif·fled, snif·fling.

to sniff repeatedly, as from a head cold or in repressing tears: She sniffled woefully.


an act or sound of sniffling.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for sniffles

Contemporary Examples of sniffles

Historical Examples of sniffles

  • Luella's eyes closed and her sniffles changed to a low howl.

    The Girl Scouts at Home

    Katherine Keene Galt

  • Now in charge of my chips, Sniffles called the turn on every roll.


    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • When I won it, I pulled my chips off the table, which Sniffles didn't resist.


    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • I made a break for it with the rest of the crowd, trying to keep my eye on Sniffles.


    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Is you able, Jehoshaphat, t have the doctor from Sniffles Arm for your woman!

British Dictionary definitions for sniffles



pl n informal

the sniffles a cold in the head
the sniffling that sometimes accompanies weeping or prolonged crying



(intr) to breathe audibly through the nose, as when the nasal passages are congested


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 sniffles



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