Disclaimer: I am aware of the Policy for questions that are entirely answerable with a dictionary.

I am not a native english speaker. After reading the definitions of snore and snort, I was unable to determine any difference between them. I also tried other dictionaries with no luck.

Are they perfect synonyms? If yes, do their usage depend on the region (American English vs. British English)? If not, what's the difference?

  • 1
    While it is true that one makes snorting noises when snoring, the distinction is that one is asleep when snoring. – BobRodes Feb 21 '16 at 19:15
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    The definition you linked of snoring says "while asleep" - why wasn't that helpful in distinguishing the two? – ColleenV Feb 21 '16 at 23:31
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    -1: please read more carefully. The links you gave explicitly tell you that snoring is when you make vibrating sounds with the soft palate when you're sleeping. "Snort" has been also explicitly said to have a separate meaning pertaining to consuming drugs by inhaling them; as well as the primary meaning of blowing forcefully and noisily through the nostrils! How do you confuse a soft palate with your nose??? – Nihilist_Frost Feb 22 '16 at 1:44

I must say, that to me, the dictionary definitions are quite distinct.

In particular snoring happens while sleeping is not made consciously and is often long lasting.

A snort is (usually) a very short nasal noise made deliberately while awake.

There are no regional differences I am aware of.

I have simplified and exaggerated the explanations to amplify the differences. The details are left to the dictionary.

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    Not quite. Google Books thinks it's got over 100 written instances of snorting in his sleep, for example. You can only snore when you're asleep, but although snorting is usually a "conscious" activity, it can apply when unconscious / asleep. – FumbleFingers Feb 21 '16 at 19:29
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    @FumbleFingers Yes I agree. I was focussing on the differences and not the similarities. I have clarified the wording. – Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩 Feb 21 '16 at 19:34
  • That single word usually is good enough to get my upvote. But I'll leave my comment, because it's still relevant. – FumbleFingers Feb 21 '16 at 19:44
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    @FumbleFingers "You can only snore when you're asleep" => unless you're speaking figuratively: "By the end of the lecture, everyone in the room was snoring." – HostileFork says dont trust SE Feb 21 '16 at 21:39
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Four years later, Google Books has far fewer than 100 instances of "snorting in his sleep", it's more like ten. And I bet a few of those are (or were) typos or OCR errors. – Mari-Lou A Sep 26 '20 at 6:39

The dictionary definitions seem perfectly clear to me: snoring is, essentially, snorting as you breathe while you're asleep.

One thing that the dictionary doesn't quite make clear is that snoring is usually a repeated action, with the noise is made every time the person breathes in, over a period of time. Snorts, on the other hand, usually happen in ones or twos: a single sharp breath makes the noise, caused for example by being surprised by something. Also, because one is asleep and breathing slowly, snoring tends to produce a sequence of noises each of which is a few seconds long, whereas snorts tend to be shorter.

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    The length of breath is a key factor in distinguishing the two, one can snort or snore while asleep, however one cannot snore a line of cocaine, but it is possible to snort – Peter Feb 21 '16 at 23:20

Snore is when one make a vibration sounds unconsciously when he/she is asleep. While snort is when one make a vibration sounds consciousness when he/she is awake, especially in an angry way.


snort is the sound made by exhaling or inhaling roughly through the nose while snore is the act of snoring, and the noise produced. 

  • Hi user3410, can you be more specific with this answer? Maybe explain what 'snort' and 'snore' is in a little more depth. And how they are different. The clearer the answer, the better. Cheers. – Varun Nair Apr 14 '16 at 6:40

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