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[breth-tey-king] /ˈbrɛθˌteɪ kɪŋ/
thrillingly beautiful, remarkable, astonishing, exciting, or the like:
a breathtaking performance.
Origin of breathtaking
First recorded in 1875-80; breath + take + -ing2
Related forms
breathtakingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for breathtaking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • While they waited, the village folk reaped a breathtaking harvest.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock
  • The havoc wrought among the onrushing pack was breathtaking.

    Queen of the Black Coast Robert E. Howard
  • He reveled in its beauty, its breathtaking panorama and its balance.

    The Inhabited Richard Wilson
  • Why, the little devil looked like a siren and the bare feet in the net were breathtaking.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock
  • The West knew that these institutions were dysfunctional – but not to which breathtaking extent.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
British Dictionary definitions for breathtaking


causing awe or excitement: a breathtaking view
Derived Forms
breathtakingly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for breathtaking

1867, from breath + present participle of take (v.). Phrase to take (one's) breath away with astonishment or delight is from 1864. Breathtaking (n.) "act of taking breaths or a breath" is from 1620s. Related: Breathtakingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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