Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “sniff”

See all translations

sniff

verb uk   /snɪf/ us  
C2 [I or T] to smell something by taking air in through your nose: He sniffed his socks to see if they needed washing. Dogs love sniffing each other. She sniffed at her glass of wine before tasting it. Dogs are sometimes used at airports to sniff out (= find by smelling) drugs in people's luggage. He was expelled from school for sniffing glue (= taking in the gas from glue because of the feelings of pleasure that this gives).C2 [I] to take air in quickly through your nose, usually to stop the liquid inside the nose from flowing out: You were sniffing a lot - I presumed you had a cold. [T] to speak in an unpleasant way, showing that you have a low opinion of something: [+ speech] "They didn't even serve wine at dinner!" she sniffed.
More examples

sniff

noun [C] uk   /snɪf/ us  
a quick breath in through the nose to smell something, or to stop liquid in the nose from coming out: Have a sniff of this medicine - it smells revolting, doesn't it? "I don't think much of that idea," she said with a sniff (= an expression of a low opinion).
(Definition of sniff from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of sniff?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “sniff” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

exercise

physical activity that you do to make your body strong and healthy

Word of the Day

Byronic, Orwellian and Darwinian: adjectives from names.

by Liz Walter,
April 15, 2015
Becoming an adjective is a strange kind of memorial, but it is often a sign of a person having had real influence on the world. Science is full of examples, from Hippocrates, the Greek medic born around 460 BC, who gave his name to the Hippocratic Oath still used by doctors today,

Read More 

bio-inspiration noun

April 13, 2015
the adoption of patterns and structures found in nature for the purposes of engineering, manufacturing, science, etc. The MIT researchers actually aren’t the only robotics team to turn to cheetahs for bio-inspiration.

Read More