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[sneez] /sniz/
verb (used without object), sneezed, sneezing.
to emit air or breath suddenly, forcibly, and audibly through the nose and mouth by involuntary, spasmodic action.
an act or sound of sneezing.
Verb phrases
sneeze at, Informal. to treat with contempt; scorn:
$50,000 is nothing to sneeze at.
1485-95; earlier snese; replacing Middle English fnese, Old English fnēosan; cognate with Dutch fniezen, Old Norse fnȳsa
Related forms
sneezeless, adjective
sneezer, noun
sneezy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for sneeze
  • There's also the less common photic sneeze, where exposure to a flash of light causes an uncontrollable sneezing fit.
  • If you can't stifle a cough or sneeze in a tissue quickly enough, sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • However, the animals are easy to find in a rainstorm, since their upturned noses catch water and cause them to sneeze.
  • That's not to say the science behind the counter is anything to sneeze at.
  • When everybody is armed with cyber-nukes, nobody better sneeze.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • He was surrounded by servants who did everything for him but sneeze.
  • But next to this belief, another faith accepts the power of a cacique who can sneeze three times and become invisible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
British Dictionary definitions for sneeze


(intransitive) to expel air and nasal secretions from the nose involuntarily, esp as the result of irritation of the nasal mucous membrane
the act or sound of sneezing
Derived Forms
sneezeless, adjective
sneezer, noun
sneezy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English fnēosan (unattested); related to Old Norse fnӯsa, Middle High German fnūsen, Greek pneuma breath
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for sneeze
O.E. fneosan "to snort, sneeze," from P.Gmc. *fneusanan (cf. M.Du. fniesen, Du. fniezen "to sneeze;" O.N. fnysa "to snort;" O.N. hnjosa, Swed. nysa "to sneeze;" O.H.G. niosan, Ger. niesen "to sneeze"), from P.Gmc. base *fneu-s- "sneeze," of imitative origin, as is PIE *pneu- "to breathe" (cf. Gk. pnein "to breathe"). Other imitative words for it, perhaps in various ways related to each other, include L. sternure (cf. It. starnutare, Fr. éternuer, Sp. estornudar), Bret. strevia, Skt. ksu-, Lith. čiaudeti, Pol. kichać, Rus. čichat'. Eng. forms in sn- appear 1490s; change may be due to a misreading of fn-, or from O.N. influence. But OED suggests M.E. fnese had been reduced to simple nese by early 15c., and sneeze is a "strengthened form" of this, "assisted by its phonetic appropriateness." The noun is first recorded 1646, from the verb. To sneeze at "to regard as of little value" (usually with negative) is attested from 1806.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sneeze in Medicine

sneeze (snēz)
v. sneezed, sneez·ing, sneez·es
To expel air forcibly from the mouth and nose in an explosive, spasmodic involuntary action resulting chiefly from irritation of the nasal mucous membrane. n.
The act or an instance of sneezing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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