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

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More