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adjective, air·i·er, air·i·est.
  1. open to a free current of fresh air; breezy: airy rooms.
  2. consisting of or having the character of air; immaterial: airy phantoms.
  3. light in appearance; thin: airy garments.
  4. light in manner; sprightly; lively: airy songs.
  5. light in movement; graceful; delicate: an airy step.
  6. light as air; unsubstantial; unreal; imaginary: airy dreams.
  7. visionary; speculative.
  8. performed in the air; aerial.
  9. lofty; high in the air.
  10. putting on airs; affected; snobbish: an airy debutante posing for society photographers.

Origin of airy

1350–1400; Middle English ayery; see air1, -y1
Can be confusedaerie airy

Synonyms for airy

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for airy


adjective airier or airiest
  1. abounding in fresh air
  2. spacious or uncluttered
  3. nonchalant; superficial
  4. visionary; fancifulairy promises; airy plans
  5. of or relating to air
  6. weightless and insubstantialan airy gossamer
  7. light and graceful in movement
  8. having no material substanceairy spirits
  9. high up in the air; lofty
  10. performed in the air; aerial


  1. Sir George Biddell . 1801–92, British astronomer, noted for his estimate of the earth's density from gravity measurements in mines; astronomer royal (1835–81)
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

Word Origin and History for airy

late 14c., "of the air, made of air," from air (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "breezy" is attested from 1590s; that of "lively" is from 1640s. Sense of "vain, unsubstantial" is from 1580s. Disparaging airy-fairy is attested from 1920 (earlier in a sense of "delicate or light as a fairy," which is how Tennyson used it in 1830).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper