- to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire.
- (in speech) to control the outgoing breath in producing voice and speech sounds.
- to pause, as for breath; take rest: How about giving me a chance to breathe?
- to move gently or blow lightly, as air.
- to live; exist: Hardly a man breathes who has not known great sorrow.
- to be redolent of.
- (of a material) to allow air and moisture to pass through easily: The jacket is comfortable because the fabric breathes.
- (of the skin) to absorb oxygen and give off perspiration.
- (of a wine) to be exposed to air after being uncorked, in order to develop flavor and bouquet.
- to inhale and exhale in respiration.
- to exhale: Dragons breathe fire.
- to inject as if by breathing; infuse: She breathed life into the party.
- to give utterance to; whisper.
- to express; manifest.
- to allow to rest or recover breath: to breathe a horse.
- to deprive of breath; tire; exhaust.
- to cause to pant; exercise.
- breathe down someone's neck,
- to be close to someone in pursuit; menace; threaten: Police from four states were breathing down his neck.
- to watch someone closely so as to supervise or control: If everyone keeps breathing down my neck, how can I get my work done?
- breathe freely, to have relief from anxiety, tension, or pressure: Now that the crisis was over, he could breathe freely.Also breathe easily, breathe easy.
- breathe one's last, to die: He breathed his last and was buried in the churchyard.
- not breathe a word/syllable, to maintain secrecy; keep a matter confidential: I'll tell you if you promise not to breathe a word.
Origin of breathe
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for breathes
After a long period of convalescence following her breakdown, she breathes a sigh of relief when she is able to write.The Neglected Penelope Mortimer Was a Novelist Ahead of Her Time
March 25, 2014
He is paralyzed, breathes through a ventilator, and communicates via a sophisticated computer.A Brief History of Hawking’s Boycott
May 8, 2013
R immediately falls for Julie, who breathes life into him and even inspires the grunting mute to talk ... and stop eating brains.Nicholas Hoult on ‘Warm Bodies,’ ‘X-Men,’ Jennifer Lawrence & More
February 1, 2013
Breathes there a soul brave enough to go near the beach after seeing this film?Jaws’s Anniversary: Newsweek’s 1975 Review
June 20, 2012
Though Babbitt turns ninety this year, Georgie Babbitt still lives and breathes and harrumphs.American Dreams: 'Babbitt' by Sinclair Lewis
March 19, 2012
Eulalia, when at the stake, breathes the flame that she may die the more quickly.The Dream
Occasionally there is a similar straining after the air it breathes.The Meaning of Evolution
Samuel Christian Schmucker
It breathes the spirit of Socrates, but has been cast anew in the mould of Plato.Apology
I'll send you a prescription for his heart, if he breathes too heavily.Martians Never Die
The child who breathes imperfectly but ill maintains its heat.The Mother's Manual of Children's Diseases
Charles West, M.D.
- to take in oxygen from (the surrounding medium, esp air) and give out carbon dioxide; respire
- (intr) to exist; be aliveevery animal that breathes on earth
- (intr) to rest to regain breath, composure, etcstop your questions, and give me a chance to breathe
- (intr) (esp of air) to blow lightlythe wind breathed through the trees
- (intr) machinery
- to take in air, esp for combustionthe engine breathes through this air filter
- to equalize the pressure within a container, chamber, etc, with atmospheric pressurethe crankcase breathes through this duct
- (tr) phonetics to articulate (a speech sound) without vibration of the vocal cordsCompare voice (def. 19)
- to exhale or emitthe dragon breathed fire
- (tr) to impart; instilto breathe confidence into the actors
- (tr) to speak softly; whisperto breathe words of love
- (tr) to permit to restto breathe a horse
- (intr) (of a material) to allow air to pass through so that perspiration can evaporate
- breathe again, breathe freely or breathe easily to feel reliefI could breathe again after passing the exam
- breathe down someone's neck to stay close to someone, esp to oversee what they are doingthe cops are breathing down my neck
- breathe one's last to die or be finished or defeated
Word Origin and History for breathes
c.1300, not in Old English, but it retains the original Old English vowel of its source word, breath. Related: Breathed; breathing.