- 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 for breathe on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for breathe
“But I could breathe freely only when the plane took off,” she told me.Russians Plot Exiled Government in Kiev
December 16, 2014
I could not breathe.... When I would pass out, they would shake me and begin again.The Luxury Homes That Torture and Your Tax Dollars Built
December 12, 2014
JUDNICK: My reaction is so visceral that I immediately, like you, isolate myself so I can breathe.
It's amazing to think that someone in another country might provide you with 140 characters that allow you to breathe.
The time for remorse was when my husband was yelling to breathe!‘I Can’t Breathe!’ ‘I Can’t Breathe!’ A Moral Indictment of Cop Culture
December 4, 2014
The winter was somewhat rainy, but of a mild dampness; so the air was pleasant to breathe.The Dream
He tugged at his collar as if to breathe the easier, cleared his throat and began again.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
Thoughts that breathe and words that burn did not drop from his lips as from Danton's.In the Heart of Vosges
Your promise was to be with me in my dying moments, and to let me breathe my last in your arms.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
Every little while she had to put her offspring down to rest and give it a chance to breathe.Johnny Bear
E. T. Seton
- 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 breathe
c.1300, not in Old English, but it retains the original Old English vowel of its source word, breath. Related: Breathed; breathing.
Idioms and Phrases with breathe
In addition to the idioms beginning with breathe
- breathe down someone's neck
- breathe easy
- breathe life into
- breathe one's last
- as I live and breathe
- breathing space
- not breathe a word