Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A brief, passing odor carried in the air.
  • noun A very small trace.
  • noun An inhalation, as of air or smoke.
  • noun A slight, gentle gust of air; a waft.
  • noun Baseball A strikeout.
  • intransitive verb To be carried in brief gusts; waft.
  • intransitive verb Sports To swing at and miss a ball or puck.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To strike out. Used of a batter.
  • intransitive verb To inhale through the nose; sniff.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To strike out (a batter).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An anacanthine or malacopterygious fish of the family Pleuronectidæ, a kind of flatfish or flounder, the Cynicoglossus microcephalus, found in British waters; the smear-dab, sail-fluke, or marysole.
  • To fish, as for mackerel, with a hand-line. See whiffing, n.
  • To puff; blow; produce or emit a puff or whiff.
  • To drink.
  • To puff; puff out; exhale; blow: as, to whiff out rings of smoke.
  • To carry as by a slight blast or whiff of wind.
  • To draw in; imbibe; inhale: said of air or smoke, and frequently of liquids also.
  • noun A slight blast or gust of air; especially, a puff of air conveying some smell.
  • noun A quick inhalation of air, and especially of smoke; a drawing or drinking; in of smoke; also, a draught or drink, as of wine or liquid.
  • noun A sudden expulsion of air, smoke, or the like from the mouth; a puff.
  • noun A hasty view; a glimpse; a gliff.
  • noun At Oxford and other places on the Thames, a light kind of outrigger boat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To throw out in whiffs; to consume in whiffs; to puff.
  • transitive verb To carry or convey by a whiff, or as by a whiff; to puff or blow away.
  • intransitive verb To emit whiffs, as of smoke; to puff.
  • noun A sudden expulsion of air from the mouth; a quick puff or slight gust, as of air or smoke.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A glimpse; a hasty view.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The marysole, or sail fluke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A waft; a brief, gentle breeze; a light gust of air
  • noun An odour carried briefly through the air
  • noun A short inhalation of breath, especially of smoke from a cigarette or pipe
  • noun figuratively a slight sign of something
  • noun baseball A strike (from the batter’s perspective)
  • noun The megrim, a fish with scientific name Lepidorhombus boscii or Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis
  • verb transitive To waft.
  • verb transitive To sniff.
  • verb intransitive, baseball To strike out.
  • verb slang to attempt to strike and miss, especially being off-balance/vulnerable after missing.
  • adjective colloquial Having a strong or unpleasant odor.

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

  • verb smoke and exhale strongly
  • verb drive or carry as if by a puff of air
  • verb perceive by inhaling through the nose
  • noun a short light gust of air
  • noun a strikeout resulting from the batter swinging at and missing the ball for the third strike
  • verb strike out by swinging and missing the pitch charged as the third
  • verb utter with a puff of air
  • noun a lefteye flounder found in coastal waters from New England to Brazil

Etymologies

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

[Perhaps alteration of Middle English weffe, offensive smell.]

Examples

  • Actually when the revolution was about to be snuffed out, he got canons into the center of Paris and what he called a whiff of great shot he mowed down the rioters in a vicious by wholly successful attempt to defend the revolution.

    Napoleon & Wellington: The Battle of Waterloo and the Great Commanders Who Fought It

  • I'll keep you posted on my experiments with it, in the meantime I'm more than happy to get my thrill by taking a whiff from the jar every now and then.

    Baharat. A new word in my vocabulary.

  • Imperialism itself to the retired elephant hunter who criticises Orwell's inability to put the beast out of its misery - apparently the trick is to aim for the point where the two eye-ear lines cross - these are never less than fascin - ating: a sudden sulphurous whiff from a world in which a writer finds himself turned into a glowing personal presence in the lives of thousands of ordinary people.

    Review of Emma Larkin's "Secret Histories: Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop"

  • Herbert; “I'll shuffle my own fortune;” and seizing the cards, he handled them as knowingly as the sibyl herself, and ran over a jargon quite as unintelligible; and then holding them fast, quite out of Effie's reach, he ran on — “Ah, ha — I see the mist going off like the whiff from a Dutchman's pipe; and here's a grand castle, and parks, and pleasure-grounds; and here am I, with a fair blue-eyed lady, within it.”

    The Linwoods; Or, "sixty Years Since" in America

  • The pipe was passed from mouth to mouth, each one taking a whiff, which is equivalent to the inviolable pledge of faith, of taking salt together among the ancient Britons.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 4

  • The pipe was passed from mouth to mouth, each one taking a whiff, which is equivalent to the inviolable pledge of faith, of taking salt together among the ancient Britons.

    Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains

  • The pipe was passed from mouth to mouth, each one taking a whiff, which is equivalent to the inviolable pledge of faith, of taking salt together among the ancient Britons.

    Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains

  • You don't admit it to him and especially not to yourself, but you like the musky aroma from his bath soap and you know that tonight you won't have to sneak a whiff of his hair before you fall asleep.

    Wraithbait

  • It's highly likely that the whiff is the product of chemicals used in products 'manufacture evapourating as the machines heat up as their used.

    Channel Register

  • It's highly likely that the whiff is the product of chemicals used in products 'manufacture evapourating as the machines heat up as their used.

    Channel Register

Comments

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  • Citation on naphthalene.

    June 22, 2008

  • Do you know, said I to Nunez, who those two fellows are with dirty clothes and matted hair, their elbows on that table in the corner, and their cheeks upon their hands, whiffing foul breath into each other's nostrils as they lay their heads together?

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 7 ch. 13

    October 2, 2008

  • It's a fish.

    January 2, 2012