One thought on “Sniff

  1. Well, the first is about taking tobacco, if I remember correctly, which Tolkien would have found homey, I think; he was pictured smoking a pipe and smiling in his most famous publicity photo.

    In the other two, Bilbo is being stealthy near something very dangerous, which is questing for him using a sense used by wolves and bloodhounds.

    These are the same word, certainly, since all three involve a sharp intake of air through the nose. But in meaning the first is so different from the other two that it would be completely unsurprising in any language to find that they had been assigned completely different verbs. And, indeed, the act of sniffing for snuff is, in English, more usually expressed as “taking” snuff… and “take” could never be used to described the act of smelling the air for the purpose of discovering your prey.


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