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90s Slang You Should Know


[hweez, weez] /ʰwiz, wiz/
verb (used without object), wheezed, wheezing.
to breathe with difficulty and with a whistling sound:
Asthma caused him to wheeze.
to make a sound resembling difficult breathing:
The old locomotive wheezed into the station.
a wheezing breath or sound.
an old and frequently used joke, saying, story, etc.
Origin of wheeze
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English whese (v.), probably < Old Norse hvæsa to hiss
Related forms
wheezer, noun
wheezingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wheeze
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He heard a smothered cough from one of the waiting men, a horse blow in a kind of wheeze.

    Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton
  • Of course he had the wheeze all wrong and I saw that he should be in bed.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • Get the whine out of your voice and breathe with a wheeze—like this; get up the nearest approach to a deathrattle that you can.

    While the Billy Boils Henry Lawson
  • She was so weak in the chest you could hear her wheeze as far as you could see her.

  • They desire to describe it; some try, passionately; but they only wheeze and look as though they might explode.

    Abroad at Home Julian Street
  • I'm the biggest giddy fool at that kind of wheeze that ever lived.

    War and the Weird Forbes Phillips
  • I see,' repeated he, staring that way; 'but I think (puff) that's a mere (wheeze) occupation road, leading to (gasp) nowhere.'

  • Snuffle and wheeze—snuffle and wheeze of the asthmatic Chinamans breathing.

    Dust of the Desert Robert Welles Ritchie
  • He presently began to cough, and when he sought to reply to a question he could only wheeze.

    The Ordeal Charles Egbert Craddock
British Dictionary definitions for wheeze


to breathe or utter (something) with a rasping or whistling sound
(intransitive) to make or move with a noise suggestive of wheezy breathing
a husky, rasping, or whistling sound or breathing
(Brit, slang) a trick, idea, or plan (esp in the phrase good wheeze)
(informal) a hackneyed joke or anecdote
Derived Forms
wheezer, noun
wheezy, adjective
wheezily, adverb
wheeziness, noun
Word Origin
C15: probably from Old Norse hvǣsa to hiss
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 wheeze

mid-15c., probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse hvoesa "to hiss," Danish hvæse) cognate with Old English hwæst "act of blowing," hwosan "to cough," from an imitative root. Related: Wheezed; wheezing. The noun is first recorded 1834.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wheeze in Medicine

wheeze (wēz)
v. wheezed, wheez·ing, wheez·es
To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound. n.
A wheezing sound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for wheeze



An old joke; chestnut: even remembered a wheeze I pulled/ this tired little wheeze

[1864+; origin unknown; perhaps fr a wheezing delivery used by clowns in telling jokes; the earliest attested use refers to a circus clown's joke]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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