Example sentence:

I was near enough to catch a _ of her words.

What's a word that means whiff but for sounds?

  • 3
    "snippet" maybe? Or "waft"? Jul 17, 2017 at 8:09
  • 2
    Could you clarify exactly what it is you want to communicate about the hearing of the words? Are they heard clearly? Can you make them out and understand them, or only hear that there are sound you assume to be words? The answer is likely to make a difference. You should also tell us what words you have considered and why you have rejected them, otherwise you are asking people to duplicate work you have already done. You have already done that, right?
    – Spagirl
    Jul 17, 2017 at 13:09
  • Maybe "fragment"?
    – vpn
    Jul 17, 2017 at 13:51
  • 1
    I'd like to point out that the visual equivalent for this is "glance" or "glimpse".
    – geokavel
    Jul 17, 2017 at 18:26
  • 1
    Was the listener able to understand her words? If not I would use "murmuring", "susurration", or perhaps "scintilla". If the words were intelligible, "scrap" or the previously mentioned "fragment". Jul 17, 2017 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


I might suggest "...could only hear a brief snatch" or "brief snippet" .

I'd also be comfortable using "hint."

  • Upvote for snippet.
    – thomj1332
    Jul 17, 2017 at 17:58
  • 1
    "I got a brief listen" could also work. Or, "I caught a little slice". Or, "I caught a smidgen".
    – geokavel
    Jul 17, 2017 at 18:41

Maybe the word is "Whisper". As Whisper's meaning is given as:speak very softly using one's breath rather than one's throat, especially for the sake of secrecy.

  • 2
    A whiff isn't necessarily a subtle smell; it is a short one. Whiff expresses that you only experience it for a short time, but it's possible that you get a strong smell for that short time period. Applying the same to the auditory senses, "whisper" doesn't seem to apply, as it denotes a subtle sound; rather than a short sound.
    – Flater
    Jul 17, 2017 at 9:04
  • Or echo maybe??
    – Jeff
    Jul 17, 2017 at 16:58

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