Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “sniff”

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.

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?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Treating as unimportant, but you might be interested in these topics from the Attention and care topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “sniff” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

monster

any imaginary frightening creature, especially one that is large and strange

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

Read More 

high-frequency trading noun

October 27, 2014
a type of stock market trading that uses very complex technology to trade extremely quickly, often making tiny profits which nevertheless add up to substantial sums Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of

Read More