verb (used without object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.
verb (used with object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.
- 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?
Origin of breathe
Synonyms for breathe
Related Words for breathe easyunwind, recline, soften, calm, repose, rest, tranquilize, laze, unbend, unlax
- 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
Word Origin for breathe
c.1300, not in Old English, but it retains the original Old English vowel of its source word, breath. Related: Breathed; breathing.
Also, breathe easily or freely. Relax, feel relieved from anxiety, stress, or tension. For example, Now that exams are over with, I can breathe easy, or Whenever I'm back in the mountains, I can breathe freely again. This idiom originally (late 1500s) was put as breathe again, implying that one had stopped breathing (or held one's breath) while feeling anxious or nervous. Shakespeare had it in King John (4:2): “Now I breathe again aloft the flood.” The variant dates from the first half of the 1800s.
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