whiff of

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 classic literature ?
Forthwith, however, as soon as the order was given, there was an intense red glow out of the bowl of the pipe, and a whiff of smoke came from Mother Rigby's lips.
"I don't want to set up a hobgoblin in my own corn-patch, and almost at my own doorstep," said Mother Rigby to herself, puffing out a whiff of smoke; "I could do it if I pleased, but I'm tired of doing marvellous things, and so I'll keep within the bounds of every-day business just for variety's sake.
Indeed, the great difficulty will be at once got over, if we can only bring ourselves to believe that, as soon as the old dame bade him puff, there came a whiff of smoke from the scarecrow's mouth.
The scarecrow gasped, struggled, and at length emitted a murmur, which was so incorporated with its smoky breath that you could scarcely tell whether it were indeed a voice or only a whiff of tobacco.
"Never fear, mother!" said the figure, in a stout voice, and sending forth a courageous whiff of smoke, "I will thrive, if an honest man and a gentleman may!"
This he applied to his lips as often as every five or six paces, and inhaled a deep whiff of smoke, which, after being retained a moment in his lungs, might be seen to eddy gracefully from his mouth and nostrils.
As when a window is opened a whiff of fresh air from the fields enters a stuffy room, so a whiff of youthfulness, energy, and confidence of success reached Kutuzov's cheerless staff with the galloping advent of all these brilliant young men.
A whiff of warm breath, a little soft tuft on its paw--: and immediately wert thou ready to love and lure it.
Now there was left with him, at least, a philosophic acquiescence to the existing order--only a desire to be permitted to exist, with now and then a little whiff of genuine life, such as he was breathing now.
The HISPANIOLA rolled steadily, dipping her bowsprit now and then with a whiff of spray.
Torn out of its bolt-ropes, it faded like a whiff of smoke in the smoky drift of clouds shattered and torn by the shift of wind.
I'd be the better for a smack of the salt water again, and a whiff of the breeze.
But no crying, or talking, or hoping, or fearing, could keep off the dreaded Saturday afternoon, or Newman Noggs either; who, punctual to his time, limped up to the door, and breathed a whiff of cordial gin through the keyhole, exactly as such of the church clocks in the neighbourhood as agreed among themselves about the time, struck five.
And now they begin to see, and the early life of the country- side comes out--a market cart or two; men in smock-frocks going to their work, pipe in mouth, a whiff of which is no bad smell this bright morning.
"That's a whiff or more than 'whiff of corruption,' isn't it?" she added.