To waft a smell is to wave it towards one's nose. You are encouraged to waft smells from test tubes rather than smell directly from them because the noxious chemical inside may burn a hole in your nose if taken in directly.

Waft (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Wafted; p. pr. & vb. n. Wafting.] [Prob. originally imp. & p. p. of wave, v. t. See Wave to waver.]

1.

To give notice to by waving something; to wave the hand to; to beckon.

[Obs.]

But soft: who wafts us yonder? Shak.

2.

To cause to move or go in a wavy manner, or by the impulse of waves, as of water or air; to bear along on a buoyant medium; as, a balloon was wafted over the channel.

A gentle wafting to immortal life. Milton.

Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul, And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole. Pope.

3.

To cause to float; to keep from sinking; to buoy.

[Obs.]

Sir T. Browne.

⇒ This verb is regular; but waft was formerly somtimes used, as by Shakespeare, instead of wafted.

 

© Webster 1913.


Waft, v. i.

To be moved, or to pass, on a buoyant medium; to float.

And now the shouts waft near the citadel. Dryden.

 

© Webster 1913.


Waft, n.

1.

A wave or current of wind.

"Everywaft of the air."

Longfellow.

In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing Sweeps up the burden of whole wintry plains In one wide waft. Thomson.

2.

A signal made by waving something, as a flag, in the air.

3.

An unpleasant flavor.

[Obs.]

4. Naut.

A knot, or stop, in the middle of a flag.

[Written also wheft.]

⇒ A flag with a waft in it, when hoisted at the staff, or half way to the gaff, means, a man overboard; at the peak, a desire to communicate; at the masthead, "Recall boats."

 

© Webster 1913.

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