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From Old French sifler (later orthographically influenced by souffler), from Vulgar Latin *sīfilāre, probably an Osco-Umbrian influenced variant of Latin sībilāre, present active infinitive of sībilō (compare Spanish chiflar, Friulian sivilâ). Cf. also the variant northern Old French dialectal form sufler (whence Norman sûfflier and Walloon xhufler), from a Vulgar Latin variant *sufilāre (compare Italian zufolare), as well as the dialectal subler from a form *subilāre (compare Italian sobillare, Romansch tschüblar, Romanian șuiera); in areas transitional to Franco-Provençal dialects is found the form sibler (compare also Occitan siblar, siular, Catalan xiular).


  • IPA(key): /si.fle/
  • (file)



  1. (transitive, intransitive) to whistle
    Elle siffle un air bizarre.
    She's whistling a strange tune.
  2. (transitive) to whistle for, to blow on a whistle for
    L'arbitre a sifflé la mi-temps.
    The referee blew the whistle for half-time.
  3. (transitive) to boo by whistling (to show one's disapproval at something)
  4. (intransitive, of snakes) to hiss
  5. (transitive) to knock back (a drink), to down


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