What does sniff mean?

Definitions for sniff

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word sniff.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sniff, snuffverb

    sensing an odor by inhaling through the nose

  2. sniff, whiffverb

    perceive by inhaling through the nose

    "sniff the perfume"

  3. sniff, sniffleverb

    inhale audibly through the nose

    "the sick student was sniffling in the back row"


  1. sniffnoun

    An instance of sniffing.

    She gave the flowes a quick sniff to check they were real.

  2. sniffnoun

    A quantity of something that is inhaled through the nose

  3. sniffnoun

    A brief perception

  4. sniffverb

    To make a short, audible inhalation, through the nose, as if to smell something.

  5. sniffverb

    To say something while sniffing, for example in case of illness or unhappiness

    "He's never coming back, is he?", she sniffed while looking at a picture of him.

  6. sniffverb

    To perceive vaguely

    I can sniff trouble coming from the basement.

  7. sniffverb

    To be dismissive or contemptuous of something.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To Sniffverb

    To draw breath audibly up the nose.

    Etymology: sniffa, Swedish.

    So then you look’d scornful, and snift at the dean,
    As, who should say, now am I skinny and lean? Jonathan Swift.


  1. sniff

    Sniff is the act of inhaling air sharply through the nose to detect a smell, or due to a cold or in sadness. It can also refer to the act of perceiving or detecting something.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sniffverb

    to draw air audibly up the nose; to snuff; -- sometimes done as a gesture of suspicion, offense, or contempt

  2. Sniffverb

    to draw in with the breath through the nose; as, to sniff the air of the country

  3. Sniffverb

    to perceive as by sniffing; to snuff, to scent; to smell; as, to sniff danger

  4. Sniffnoun

    the act of sniffing; perception by sniffing; that which is taken by sniffing; as, a sniff of air

  5. Etymology: [OE. sneven; akin to snivel, snuff; cf. Dan. snive to sniff. See Snuff, v. t.]


  1. Sniff

    Sniff is a character in the Moomin series of books by Finnish author Tove Jansson. Sniff is Moomintroll's immature friend and later adopted brother. He is the son of the Muddler and the Fuzzy. He is one of the few characters in the Moomin series who is sincerely interested in money, and is always on the lookout for another way to get rich quick. This trait in him is often played as a contrast to Snufkin, who doesn't care much about worldly belongings, and their two different philosophies sometimes clash—although Snufkin is generally portrayed as the wiser of the two. Particularly in the earlier books, Sniff seems to be younger than the other major characters, and many of his negative qualities can be said to be those of a thoughtless child; he is selfish, greedy and quick to push all responsibility over on other people, but he is not malicious or mean-spirited. He's also easily frightened or upset, and not very fond of taking risks, although he will often overcome his fears if there's a chance of treasure or wealth. Sniff is one of the first characters introduced in the series; in fact, he is the first person Moomintroll and Moominmamma encounter on their journey in The Moomins and the Great Flood, although he has not yet been given an actual name and is referred throughout the story simply as "the small creature."

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sniff

    snif, v.t. to draw in with the breath through the nose.—v.i. to snuff or draw in air sharply through the nose: to snuff.—n. perception of smell: a short sharp inhalation, or the sound made by such.—v.i. Snif′fle, to snuffle.—n. Snif′fler, a slight breeze.—adj. Snif′fy, inclined to be disdainful.—vs.i. Snift, to sniff, snivel; Snift′er, to sniff.—n. a sniff: (pl.) stoppage of the nasal passages in catarrh: (slang) a dram: (U.S.) a severe storm.—n. Snift′ing-valve, an air-valve connecting with a steam-cylinder, as in a condensing engine—also Tail-valve, Blow-valve.—adj. Snift′y (slang), having a tempting smell. [Scand.; Dan. snive, snuff; Ger. schnieben.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. sniff

    1. To watch packets traversing a network. Most often in the phrase packet sniffer, a program for doing same. 2. Synonym for poll.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SNIFF

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sniff is ranked #62714 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Sniff surname appeared 319 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Sniff.

    97.8% or 312 total occurrences were White.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sniff' in Verbs Frequency: #1054

How to pronounce sniff?

How to say sniff in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sniff in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sniff in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of sniff in a Sentence

  1. Khadija Abraham:

    Experiments show that these rats can detect a sample with TB parasites in a second and evidence has shown that they are able to sniff out even those with very minimal parasites.

  2. Kazushige Touhara:

    Although there are many circumstances in which humans utilize olfactory cues for communication, there is no authentic pheromone that has been chemically identified, i believe there is no classic sex pheromone in humans that elicits attractive behavior to the opposite sex. But there are probably crucial odors that affect each other's emotions - for example, a baby's head smell that parents sniff and feel happy, and a woman's axillary (underarm) odors that affect the emotions of males.

  3. Robert Selhorst:

    One of my dogs went under the fence to sniff his dogs, my dog’s tail was wagging. He was just sniffing his dog and the guy, like night and day, flipped out.

  4. Franklin Templeton:

    If we do get a little sniff of higher yields or a wee bit of inflation or even a return to growth or even the Fed trying to get through to a second rate hike, we think the valuations (of banks) could start to reflect an improving fundamental scenario.

  5. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher:

    He's a winner. He's made billions. He's dated beautiful women. His wife is a model. That's not to sniff at. And a lot of people believe he can bring that kind of success to the White House.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for sniff

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • شمArabic
  • schnüffelnGerman
  • olfatearSpanish
  • nyrpistellä, nuuhkaista, nuuhkausFinnish
  • reniflerFrench
  • fanyalog, szippantás, szippant, szimatol, fintorogHungarian
  • whakamonoMāori
  • pociągać nosem, niuchać, węszyćPolish
  • sinq'ayQuechua
  • сопение, фыркнуть, фыркать, принюхаться, шмыгнуть, шмыгать, принюхиваться, шмыганиеRussian

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"sniff." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sniff>.

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    cause to be embarrassed; cause to feel self-conscious
    A scarper
    B elaborate
    C summon
    D abash

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