verb (used without object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.

verb (used with object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.

Nearby words

  1. breathable,
  2. breathalyse,
  3. breathalyser,
  4. breathalyzer,
  5. breatharian,
  6. breathe down someone's neck,
  7. breathe easy,
  8. breathe life into,
  9. breathe one's last,
  10. breathed


Origin of breathe

1250–1300; Middle English brethen, derivative of breath

Related formsout·breathe, verb (used with object), out·breathed, out·breath·ing.pre·breathe, verb (used with object), pre·breathed, pre·breath·ing.

Can be confusedbreadth breath breathe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for breathe

British Dictionary definitions for breathe



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
  1. to take in air, esp for combustionthe engine breathes through this air filter
  2. 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 for breathe

C13: from breath

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 breathe



c.1300, not in Old English, but it retains the original Old English vowel of its source word, breath. Related: Breathed; breathing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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

also see:

  • as I live and breathe
  • breathing space
  • not breathe a word
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.