American English

Definition of sniff verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they sniff
    he / she / it sniffs
    past simple sniffed
    -ing form sniffing
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  1. 1[intransitive] to breathe air in through your nose in a way that makes a sound, especially when you are crying, have a cold, etc. We all had colds and couldn't stop sniffing and sneezing. She sniffed a little and dabbed at her eyes.
  2. 2[transitive, intransitive] to breathe air in through the nose in order to discover or enjoy the smell of something synonym smell sniff something sniffing the fresh morning air to sniff glue sniff (at something) The dog sniffed at my shoes. see also glue sniffing
  3. 3[transitive, intransitive] + speech sniff (something) to say something in a complaining or disapproving way “It's hardly what I'd call elegant,” she sniffed.
  4. Idioms
    not to be sniffed at (informal)
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    good enough to be accepted or considered seriously In those days, $20 was not a sum to be sniffed at.
    Phrasal Verbssniff aroundsniff at somethingsniff somebody/somethingout
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sniff