[ bree-ther ]
/ ˈbri ðər /


a pause, as for breath.
vigorous exercise that causes heavy breathing.
a person who breathes.
a vent in a container or covering, as in a casing for machinery or in a storage tank, to equalize interior and exterior pressure, permit entry of air, escape of fumes, or the like.
a device for providing air from the atmosphere to submerged or otherwise sealed-off persons, internal-combustion engines, etc.: the snorkel breather of a submarine.


Nearby words

  1. breathe down someone's neck,
  2. breathe easy,
  3. breathe life into,
  4. breathe one's last,
  5. breathed,
  6. breathing,
  7. breathing bag,
  8. breathing reserve,
  9. breathing space,
  10. breathingly

Origin of breather

First recorded in 1350–1400, breather is from the Middle English word brethere. See breathe, -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for breather

British Dictionary definitions for breather


/ (ˈbriːðə) /


informal a short pause for rest
a person who breathes in a specified waya deep breather
a vent in a container to equalize internal and external pressure, such as the pipe in the crankcase of an internal-combustion engine
a small opening in a room, container, cover, etc, supplying air for ventilation
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 breather



c.1600, "a living creature, one who breathes," agent noun from breathe. Meaning "spell of exercise to stimulate breathing" is from 1836; that of "a rest to recover breath" is from 1901.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper