• synonyms


adjective, breath·i·er, breath·i·est.
  1. (of the voice) characterized by audible or excessive emission of breath.
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Origin of breathy

First recorded in 1520–30; breath + -y1
Related formsbreath·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for breathiness

Historical Examples of breathiness

  • At first they may be quite breathy, but as the vocal bands become accustomed to the new action, the breathiness will disappear.

    The Child-Voice in Singing

    Francis E. Howard

  • The color rose high in the Girl's cheeks, and her voice took on the thrill and breathiness of amused excitement.

    The Sick-a-Bed Lady

    Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

  • This soon becomes very comfortable, relieves the throat of strain, relieves the tones of breathiness or all idea of forcing.

British Dictionary definitions for breathiness


adjective breathier or breathiest
  1. (of the speaking voice) accompanied by an audible emission of breath
  2. (of the singing voice) lacking resonance
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Derived Formsbreathily, adverbbreathiness, noun
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 breathiness



1520s, "pertaining to breath," from breath + -y (2). Of voices, "full of breath," from 1883. Related: Breathily; breathiness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper