From Middle English snesen (to sneeze), alteration of earlier fnesen (to sneeze), from Old English fnēosan (to snort, sneeze), from Proto-West Germanic *fneusan, from Proto-Germanic *fneusaną (to sneeze, snort), from Proto-Indo-European *pnew- (to breathe, pant, snort, sneeze). Cognate with dialectal Dutch fniezen (to sneeze), Old Norse fnýsa (to snort).

Compare neeze, from Middle English nesen, from Old English *hnēosan (to sneeze), cognate to Old Norse hnjósa (to sneeze), Old High German niosan (to sneeze).

It has been suggested that the change could be due to a misinterpretation of the uncommon initial sequence fn- as ſn- (sn- written with a long s),[1][2][3] although the change is regular, seen also in snore and snort from Middle English fnoren and fnorten, and in late Middle English snatted from earlier Middle English fnatted (snub-nosed). The fn- forms of all these words fell out of use in the 1400s.


  • IPA(key): /sniːz/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːz


sneeze (third-person singular simple present sneezes, present participle sneezing, simple past sneezed or (nonstandard) snoze, past participle sneezed or (nonstandard) snozen)

  1. (intransitive) To expel air as a reflex induced by an irritation in the nose.
    To avoid passing on your illness, you should sneeze into your sleeve.
  2. (intransitive) To expel air as if the nose were irritated.


Derived termsEdit



English Wikipedia has an article on:

sneeze (plural sneezes)

  1. An act of sneezing.
    Synonyms: (medicine) sternutation, (medicine) ptarmus
    Jared's hay fever gives him terrible sneezes.


See alsoEdit