Definition of sniffle in English:



  • Sniff slightly or repeatedly, typically because of a cold or fit of crying.

    ‘Claire rubbed her nose, sniffling loudly’
    • ‘Well, there's nothing quite as common as a summer cold, sniffling and burbling and croaking about the place like a London taxi driver on a foggy night.’
    • ‘One woman was sniffling from a cold she had acquired during the morning.’
    • ‘It's the big climactic chapter that had her first whimpering, then sniffling, and finally cheering.’
    • ‘I started to turn away, making to get up and head to the restroom to find some tissue as I sniffled slightly.’
    • ‘At the name of her son, the girl started sniffling, and fresh tears came to her eyes.’
    • ‘I slipped my hand out of his and sniffling back tears I didn't even know I had, I rushed away.’
    • ‘Slightly reassured by this, the girl sniffled and wiped her tears away with the back of her hand.’
    • ‘He sniffled slightly; he had been crying silent tears for what felt to be near two hours.’
    • ‘She wiped her eyes, with the back of her hand, sniffling slightly, but as quietly as she could.’
    • ‘She nodded slightly and sniffled back some tears as she fell in behind him in a slow walk.’
    • ‘He was sniffling because of a cold and limping because of a back problem.’
    • ‘Suddenly her tears turned into sniffling, which grew into sobs that shook her whole body.’
    • ‘She sat there, sniffling still with her cold, and wondered what on earth she was going to wear.’
    • ‘I gave her shoulder a squeeze and she put her head on my shoulder, sniffling slightly.’
    • ‘Chris stops crying, sniffling through his nose to catch his breath again.’
    • ‘The drive home was a silent one, marked only by my sister sniffling loudly and elongated every twenty seconds.’
    • ‘I sighed in defeat and wiped away the remainder of my tears, sniffling.’
    • ‘My grandmother sniffled slightly as she bent down and set plastic flowers in the flower cup.’
    • ‘She then looked down and wiped her eyes with her hand and sniffled slightly.’
    • ‘Catching his breath while sniffling up his tears, he sat down at the edge of the garden.’
    snuffle, run at the nose, have a running nose, have a runny nose
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  • 1An act or sound of sniffing.

    ‘he was restraining his sniffles rather well’
    • ‘We walked without a word for five minutes or so; the only sound heard being her occasional sniffle or stifle of a sob.’
    • ‘Her breathing was coming easier, her sobs turning into sniffles.’
    • ‘Bringing her hands up she wiped them away and looked up at him with a sniffle.’
    • ‘On the other line, she heard the sound of sniffles and muffled sobs.’
    • ‘She sat up, dazed and confused, then, with a small sniffle and a larger smile, looked at her roommate.’
    • ‘It was a mixture of strange choking sounds and long sniffles.’
    • ‘There were a few times where hopes were found and then dashed, followed by sniffles throughout the audience.’
    • ‘The only sound in the room apart from his sniffles was the sound of the clock on the wall ticking.’
    • ‘I heard a sniffle, before Joey turned over to face me with a weak smile.’
    • ‘When her sobs had turned to sniffles, she pulled back, looking up at him with frightened eyes.’
    • ‘Then she heard a sniffle and turned right around and walked towards the back of the room.’
    • ‘The only sound was the light chatter of staff across the hall and the occasional sniffle and page turning from the man with the book in the doorway.’
    • ‘There were many sniffles heard in the rows in front of me by the end of the play.’
    • ‘She looked up as soon as the sounds of sniffles entered the room.’
    • ‘Jamie heard sniffles behind her and turned around on her heel and gave Beth a look of pity.’
    • ‘I then heard a sound that was suspiciously like a sniffle.’
    • ‘‘Sorry,’ I muttered between sniffles as he looked down at his damp shirt.’
    • ‘I choked back another round of tears and listened for a sound between my sniffles.’
    • ‘The sobs were reduced to sniffles, and in silent wonderment, they looked at each other, together at last.’
    • ‘The only noise came from the hum of the tires on the highway and Lizzie's intermittent sniffles; she pulled herself up from the floor and stepped carefully into the front seat where Jake was staring intently at the road.’
    whine, cry, sniffle, snivel, sob, moan, bleat, mewl, wail, groan
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    1. 1.1 A head cold causing a running nose and sniffing.
      ‘she had a slight cough and a sniffle’
      • ‘If you find yourself with a case of the sniffles that lasts longer than the average cold, you may be among the growing number of people who suffer from hay fever.’
      • ‘Searching for ways to fight against the sniffles leads to a healthier menu and that is definitely a plus any time of the year.’
      • ‘When word came that Iron Mike had been floored by a virulent attack of the sniffles, his disconsolate well-wishers had to shuffle off without meeting their thick-necked hero.’
      • ‘Whether it's rich chicken with dumplings to chase the sniffles away or zesty carrot, we've got it covered.’
      • ‘Drink a hot tea made from fresh ginger, garlic and cumin seed to cure the sniffles.’
      • ‘You get a flu shot every fall, take a daily multivitamin and load up on zinc as soon as the sniffles start.’
      • ‘His father was ill, perhaps with the sniffles or maybe just a headache.’
      • ‘But I suppose some people don't turn up if they've just got a sniffle.’
      • ‘The sniffles turn into a really sore throat, you start to cough up green or yellow coloured phlegm and you begin to run a fever.’
      • ‘Sure, I get sniffles and the odd cough, but nothing like this.’
      • ‘Why suffer with the sniffles when real relief from that cold is just a word away.’
      • ‘I popped a few Vitamin C tablets during the day and hoped the sniffles and sneezing would just go away.’
      • ‘Even so, I'm prepared for a winter of the sniffles.’
      • ‘A patient exhibiting a low-grade fever, sniffles, and a cough is most likely suffering from a common cold and not smallpox!’
      • ‘Granted, the biggest problem is that the new bugs are almost invincible, but a contributing factor is the stubborn person who refuses to stay home just because of a little thing like a sniffle.’
      • ‘For workers who get paid by the hour, staying home with the sniffles is a pipe dream.’
      • ‘In some families, colds and other viruses are rarely treated with anything more than chicken soup, while other families bring out over-the-counter medications at the first sign of a sniffle.’
      • ‘As it happens, I have been suffering with a rather persistent sniffle over the past week or so.’
      • ‘And before anyone says it, I'm not the sort of man who turns into a lump at the first sign of a sniffle, either.’
      • ‘The tiny minority upset me when they feel they can't attend work because of a sniffle or a twinge.’


Mid 17th century: imitative; compare with snivel.