From Middle English snesen (“to sneeze”), alteration of earlier fnesen (“to sneeze”), from Old English fnēosan (“to snort, sneeze”), from Proto-Germanic *fneusaną (“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”).
The infrequency of the “fn” combination coupled with the visual similarity of an “f” and “ſ” (long “s”) assisted in ultimately turning “fneeze” into “ſneeze (sneeze)”.
- To expel air as a reflex induced by an irritation in the nose.
- To expel air as if the nose were irritated.
sneeze (plural sneezes)
- An act of sneezing.