Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To expel air forcibly from the mouth and nose in an explosive, spasmodic involuntary action resulting chiefly from irritation of the nasal mucous membrane.
  • n. An instance or the sound of sneezing.
  • sneeze at Informal To treat as unimportant: These deficits are nothing to sneeze at.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To expel air as a reflex induced by an irritation in the nose.
  • v. To expel air as if the nose were irritated.
  • n. An act of sneezing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To emit air, chiefly through the nose, audibly and violently, by a kind of involuntary convulsive force, occasioned by irritation of the inner membrane of the nose.
  • n. A sudden and violent ejection of air with an audible sound, chiefly through the nose.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To emit air from the nose and mouth audibly and violently by an involuntary convulsive action, as occasioned by irritation of the lining membrane of the nose or by stimulation of the retina by a brigbt light.
  • To utter with or like a sneeze.
  • n. The act of one who sneezes, or the sound made by sneezing; sudden and violent ejection of air through the nose and mouth with an audible sound.
  • n. Snuff. Also snish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a symptom consisting of the involuntary expulsion of air from the nose
  • v. exhale spasmodically, as when an irritant entered one's nose

Etymologies

Middle English snesen, alteration of fnesen, from Old English fnēosan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English snesen ("to sneeze"), alteration of earlier fnesen ("to sneeze"), from Old English fnēosan ("to snort, sneeze"), from Proto-Germanic *fneusanan (“to sneeze, snort”), from Proto-Indo-European *pnew- (“to breathe, sneeze”). Cognate with Dutch dialectal fniezen (Modern Standard Dutch niezen, "to sneeze"), Old Norse fnȳsa ("to snort"); Middle English neosen ("to sneeze"), from Old Norse hnjōsa (Swedish nysa, "to sneeze"), Old High German niosan (German niesen, "to sneeze"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For the record, holding in a sneeze is way easier than holding in laughter.

    AMY POEHLER, TINA FEY ACT CUTE (UPDATED)

  • This was, or would have been, evidenced by an isolated high-pitched sneeze from the far end of the car, - except - that from the far side of the other end, someone yelled out a brazen “bless you!”

    The Chaser | Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast

  • Its a joy to set them off cause its seems a sneeze is enough.

    Poor Bernie « BuzzMachine

  • Its a joy to set them off cause its seems a sneeze is enough. (etc)

    Poor Bernie « BuzzMachine

  • With you a word is an omen, you call a sneeze an omen, a meeting an omen, an unknown sound an omen, a slave or an ass an omen.

    The Birds

  • The purr wasn't very loud, for the blue kitten was like to sneeze from the dust.

    The Blue Cat of Castle Town

  • Some of their words convey the direct meaning of the thing implied – thus, ché-charm, "to sneeze," is the very sound of that act; toó-me-duh, "to churn," gives the noise made by the dashing of the cream from side to side; and many others.

    Roughing It in the Bush

  • When a certain king of Bisnagar sneezes, the court, the town, the provinces, all the subjects of his empire, in short, sneeze in imitation of their monarch.

    Paris as It Was and as It Is

  • For years, we’ve all been told that the sneeze is the body’s attempt to rid itself of something foreign – to get rid of viruses and bacteria and so forth.

    Nothing to Sneeze At

  • For years, we’ve all been told that the sneeze is the body’s attempt to rid itself of something foreign – to get rid of [...]

    2009 October archive | J. Robert King

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