whiff of

(redirected from catch a whiff of something)

a whiff of (something)

1. Literally, a faint odor or scent. Yuck, I just caught a whiff of dog poop. Did you step in some on the way home? I think I'm getting a whiff of garlic from the broth—is that correct? The breeze gave me a whiff of the flowers from my neighbor's garden.
2. A brief instance of smelling something. I had a whiff of the soup he was making to see if it was as spicy as last time. I think I'm getting a whiff of garlic from the broth—is that correct? I got a whiff of his cologne, and, whew, is it ever strong!
3. An extremely small portion or sample of something desirable. Health insurance, a company phone, and a pension plan? Man, I didn't get a whiff of benefits like those when I was working for the company. He didn't patent the design, so when it went on to make millions of dollars, he didn't get a whiff of that money. I left that job because I didn't get a whiff of a raise in five years.
4. A very small amount of information, especially just enough to give someone an indication or inkling of something. Make sure you don't let the boss get a whiff of what you're trying to do, or you'll get fired so fast your head will spin! Detective Matheson says he's caught a whiff of something going down at the docks tomorrow night. Sounds like it could be a major drug deal. If you keep acting weird like that, Mom will get a whiff of our plans to sneak out and go to the party.
See also: of, whiff
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*whiff of something

1. . Lit. the smell or odor of something. (*Typically: get ~; catch ~; have ~; take ~; give someone ~.) Did you get a whiff of the turkey roasting? Yummy. I caught a whiff of something rather unpleasant in the attic. I think there is a dead mouse up there.
2. . Fig. a bit of knowledge of something. (*Typically: get ~; catch ~; give someone ~.) The boss got a whiff of the problems in the accounting department. No one will get a whiff of your trouble with the police. I'll see to that.
See also: of, whiff
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
When the DNA molecules catch a whiff of something, a fluorescent dye attached to the DNA brightens or dims.