- a slight gust or puff of wind, air, vapor, smoke, or the like: a whiff of fresh air.
- a slight trace of odor or smell: a whiff of onions.
- a single inhalation or exhalation of air, tobacco smoke, or the like.
- a trace or hint: a whiff of scandal.
- a slight outburst: a little whiff of temper.
- to blow or come in whiffs or puffs, as wind or smoke.
- to inhale or exhale whiffs, as in smoking tobacco.
- Baseball Slang. (of a batter) to strike out by swinging at and missing the pitch charged as the third strike.
- to blow or drive with a whiff or puff, as the wind does.
- to inhale or exhale (air, tobacco smoke, etc.) in whiffs.
- to smoke (a pipe, cigar, etc.).
- Baseball Slang. (of a pitcher) to cause (a batter) to whiff.
Origin of whiff1
- any of several flatfishes having both eyes on the left side of the head, of the genus Citharichthys, as C. cornutus (horned whiff), inhabiting Atlantic waters from New England to Brazil.
Origin of whiff2
Related Words for whiffhint, fume, odor, aroma, breath, puff, scent, trifle, snuff, sniff, trace, gust, waft, dash, smack, shade, blast, flatus, draught, inhalation
Examples from the Web for whiff
Contemporary Examples of whiff
There were stories of distant strife, in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Northern Ireland, and those stories had the whiff of a different era.The Best Columns of 2014
John Avlon, Errol Louis
December 31, 2014
Nobody should waste their time penning letters that any pediatrician with a whiff of insight will ignore.Kids Don’t Know How Overweight They Really Are
July 29, 2014
But alongside all the true-fandom, a whiff of regret lingers.Why The Tea Party Won’t Go Away And More Wisdom From Matt Kibbe
April 23, 2014
In 2010, she revived the war crimes tribunal: nearly four decades after the crimes, a whiff of justice.Bangladesh’s Radical Islamists Get U.S. Backing
January 12, 2014
And while worldly success sometimes has a whiff of demonic patronage, identification is dangerous.The Devil and Antonin Scalia
October 8, 2013
Historical Examples of whiff
But he brought into the house with him a whiff of cheeriness and hope for which I could not but be grateful.The Stark Munro Letters
J. Stark Munro
Jeff could almost feel the whiff and wind of the temperamental rush.The Prisoner
Now, Peter came so fast that the air whistled about him, jumped—and whiff!
He had breathed a whiff of perfume of which he said nothing either—of some perfume he did not know.Within the Tides
After a while a whiff of smoke drifted round to where he sat.An Outcast of the Islands
- a passing odour
- a brief gentle gust of air
- a single inhalation or exhalation from the mouth or nose
- to come, convey, or go in whiffs; puff or waft
- to take in or breathe out (tobacco smoke, air, etc)
- (tr) to sniff or smell
- (intr) British slang to have an unpleasant smell; stink
Word Origin for whiff
- mainly British a narrow clinker-built skiff having outriggers, for one oarsman
Word Origin for whiff
Word Origin and History for whiff
13c., weffe "foul scent or odor," of imitative origin. Modern form became popular late 16c. with tobacco smoking, probably influenced by whiffle "blow in gusts or puffs" (1560s). The verb in the baseball slang sense "to swing at a ball and miss" first recorded 1913.