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IPA(key): /wɪf/


whiff (plural whiffs)

  1. A waft; a brief, gentle breeze; a light gust of air
  2. An odour carried briefly through the air
    • 2006 July 27, Ann Coulter, Hardball, MSNBC:
      ...everyone has always known, widely promiscuous heterosexual men have, as I say, a whiff of the bathhouse about them.
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Chapter 2
      A whiff of rotten eggs had vanquished the pale clouded yellows which came pelting across the orchard and up Dods Hill and away on to the moor []
  3. A short inhalation of breath, especially of smoke from a cigarette or pipe
    • Longfellow
      The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe, / And a scornful laugh laughed he.
  4. (figuratively) a slight sign of something; a glimpse
    • 2012, Ben Smith, Leeds United 2-1 Everton [1]
      This was a rare whiff of the big-time for a club whose staple diet became top-flight football for so long—the glamour was in short supply, however. Thousands of empty seats and the driving Yorkshire rain saw to that.
  5. (baseball) A strike (from the batter’s perspective)
  6. The megrim, a fish Lepidorhombus boscii or Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis.




whiff (third-person singular simple present whiffs, present participle whiffing, simple past and past participle whiffed)

  1. (transitive) To waft.
  2. (transitive) To sniff.
  3. (intransitive, baseball) To strike out.
  4. (slang) To attempt to strike and miss, especially being off-balance/vulnerable after missing.
  5. To throw out in whiffs; to consume in whiffs; to puff.
  6. To carry or convey by a whiff, or as by a whiff; to puff or blow away.
    • Ben Jonson
      Old Empedocles, [] who, when he leaped into Etna, having a dry, sear body, and light, the smoke took him, and whiffed him up into the moon.



whiff (comparative more whiff, superlative most whiff)

  1. (colloquial) Having a strong or unpleasant odor.
    • 2002: Jim Rozen, Way oil in rec.crafts.metalworking
      Whoo boy that gear oil is pretty whiff. If you actually do this, spend the extra money for the synthetic gear oil as it will not have as bad a sulfur stink as the regular stuff.


Derived terms[edit]