[ breth-ee ]
/ ˈbrɛθ i /

adjective, breath·i·er, breath·i·est.

(of the voice) characterized by audible or excessive emission of breath.

Nearby words

  1. breathingly,
  2. breathless,
  3. breathlessly,
  4. breathtaking,
  5. breathtakingly,
  6. breccia,
  7. brecciate,
  8. brecht,
  9. brecht, bertolt,
  10. breckinridge

Origin of breathy

First recorded in 1520–30; breath + -y1

Related formsbreath·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for breathiness

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

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for breathiness


/ (ˈbrɛθɪ) /

adjective breathier or breathiest

(of the speaking voice) accompanied by an audible emission of breath
(of the singing voice) lacking resonance
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper