Definition of sniffer in English:



  • 1A person who sniffs, especially one who sniffs a drug or toxic substance.

    [with adjective] ‘a glue sniffer’
    • ‘In the end they just give up and they go and sniff petrol, and so that sort of neo-colonial, ethno-centric attitude of ‘we'll educate the kids and change the cultural group’ is creating the next generation of petrol sniffers out there.’
    • ‘The specialist South Yorkshire Police sniffers and their handlers are being called on to mop up more than 150 missing-person and murder cases.’
    • ‘These days, the sniffers are trained to understand hand signals too as they have to take part in anti-insurgency operations.’
    • ‘Most sniffers give up glue in favour of alcohol or other drugs when they can afford to.’
    • ‘The comments were contained in a report into the suicide deaths of two chronic sniffers at Balgo, south of Halls Creek.’
    • ‘That petrol was certainly not taken to fuel their company cars, it was to feed their addictions as petrol sniffers, about which our Prime Minister has learned only in the last few weeks.’
    • ‘The fact that the weekend sniffers, injectors and smokers had spent their legitimately earned money on an illegal activity and were encouraging drug wars and shootings on the streets did not seem to cross this top policeman's simple mind.’
    • ‘The gas sniffers will fight other kids, and some kids get afraid with them.’
    • ‘The coroner says that tragically the deaths were not isolated incidents, as petrol sniffing at Balgo is widespread and some children are chronic sniffers by the age of eight.’
    1. 1.1informal A device for detecting an invisible and dangerous substance, such as gas or radiation.
      ‘electronic sniffers are used to detect the presence of a nuclear mass’
      • ‘We've just purchased a sniffer, which is a portable hand-held photolionisation detector.’
      • ‘Those tested have their hand wiped with a piece of paper, then placed under an electronic drug sniffer.’
      • ‘And even with improvements in cameras, biometric devices such as iris scans, bomb sniffers, and tracking software, it will be years before they can pick a terrorist out of a crowd.’
      • ‘With all these applications, will farmers be able to have your chemical sniffer as a kind of standard appliance available that they can use themselves and take the advice that the smell profile gives them?’
      • ‘Personnel screening in buildings also has improved with portable and fixed walk-through metal detectors, as well as X-ray package inspection units with built-in explosive sniffers and biological sensors.’
      • ‘Automated mechanical sniffers could be fitted with this detection system on every baggage handling chute.’
      • ‘The sniffers detect toxin levels at one part per billion - 600 times more powerful than the human nose.’
      • ‘High-tech air sniffers were deployed in case someone unleashed a chemical or biological assault on Tinseltown more serious than a low-budget stinker.’
      • ‘Well I don't know whether an electronic sniffer counts as nanotechnology but it does seem to be ever so adept at picking up infinitesimally small particles - in food.’
      • ‘In Nassau, the US has installed high tech solutions, including explosive sniffers, around the embassy.’
  • 2informal A person's nose.

    • ‘In that moment I am glad my sniffer snuffs poorly.’
    • ‘But they can deliver substantial benefits in situations where, given the choice, we'd prefer not to use our own sniffers.’
  • 3trademark A computer program that detects and records a variety of restricted information, especially the secret passwords needed to gain access to files or networks.

    • ‘A malicious third party could easily intercept this information by placing a sniffer upstream of the company's servers.’
    • ‘Having a static network address will slow down the hacker, although he or she can still get on your network using a sniffer program.’
    • ‘Intruders may also install network sniffers and other monitoring programs in hopes of capturing information which will allow them to access other hosts.’
    • ‘Even if you use the world's best encryption, the police can install a keyboard sniffer while you're out.’
    • ‘I don't think it's a major problem, since someone who can access the victim's hard drive is more likely to simply install a keyboard sniffer.’
    • ‘The most widespread software-based method of obtaining passwords and other confidential information is through sniffer and watcher programs that monitor network traffic.’
    • ‘You shall not use a data sniffer to grab other people's keystrokes on the fly.’
    • ‘Still, based on this, I wonder if someone could write a file sharing system that specifically generated incorrect information to throw off sniffers?’
    • ‘The privacy conscious should be able to shield their documents from surreptitious sniffers by covering passports in a metal sheath.’
    • ‘It is, I believe, a hardware sniffer that they're talking about here, and I certainly don't think it's installation is beyond them.’
    • ‘Other uses exist for the kinds of sniffers we are likely to encounter when cooking with Linux.’
    • ‘Both standards use encryption to protect sensitive data from sniffers, snoopers and intruders.’
    • ‘The device collects information from a passenger's boarding pass and uses a chemical sniffer to sense and identify potential high-security risks posed by baggage or passengers.’
    • ‘This log provided an invaluable source for information, in addition to our Ethernet sniffer we ran to view all transactions.’
    • ‘What is therefore happening with these particular ads is that the sniffer used to detect browser type is finding two browsers and happily serving two ads at once, thus busting the margins.’
    • ‘In addition, they act as remote sniffers, providing protocol-level analysis of data flow.’
    • ‘In addition, a sniffer can't capture information about response time problems arising from desktop components.’
    • ‘What someone did was to install a keyboard sniffer on a computer.’
    • ‘As network traffic increases, the sniffer will start losing packets since the PC will not be able to process them quickly enough.’
    • ‘A sniffer intercepts uncoded information while it is being transmitted via a network.’