Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

breathing

[bree-th ing]
See more synonyms for breathing on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. the act of a person or other animal that breathes; respiration.
  2. a single breath.
  3. the short time required for a single breath.
  4. a pause, as for breath.
  5. utterance or words.
  6. a gentle moving or blowing, as of wind.
  7. Classical Greek Grammar.
    1. the manner of articulating the beginning of a word written with an initial vowel sign, with or without aspiration before the vowel.
    2. one of the two symbols used to indicate this.Compare rough breathing, smooth breathing.
Show More

Origin of breathing

First recorded in 1350–1400, breathing is from the Middle English word brethynge. See breathe, -ing1
Related formsbreath·ing·ly, adverbun·breath·ing, adjective

breathe

[breeth]
verb (used without object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.
  1. to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire.
  2. (in speech) to control the outgoing breath in producing voice and speech sounds.
  3. to pause, as for breath; take rest: How about giving me a chance to breathe?
  4. to move gently or blow lightly, as air.
  5. to live; exist: Hardly a man breathes who has not known great sorrow.
  6. to be redolent of.
  7. (of a material) to allow air and moisture to pass through easily: The jacket is comfortable because the fabric breathes.
  8. (of the skin) to absorb oxygen and give off perspiration.
  9. (of a wine) to be exposed to air after being uncorked, in order to develop flavor and bouquet.
Show More
verb (used with object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.
  1. to inhale and exhale in respiration.
  2. to exhale: Dragons breathe fire.
  3. to inject as if by breathing; infuse: She breathed life into the party.
  4. to give utterance to; whisper.
  5. to express; manifest.
  6. to allow to rest or recover breath: to breathe a horse.
  7. to deprive of breath; tire; exhaust.
  8. to cause to pant; exercise.
Show More
Idioms
  1. breathe down someone's neck,
    1. to be close to someone in pursuit; menace; threaten: Police from four states were breathing down his neck.
    2. to watch someone closely so as to supervise or control: If everyone keeps breathing down my neck, how can I get my work done?
  2. breathe freely, to have relief from anxiety, tension, or pressure: Now that the crisis was over, he could breathe freely.Also breathe easily, breathe easy.
  3. breathe one's last, to die: He breathed his last and was buried in the churchyard.
  4. not breathe a word/syllable, to maintain secrecy; keep a matter confidential: I'll tell you if you promise not to breathe a word.
Show More

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

Synonyms for breathe

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for breathing

respiratory, panting, gasping, living, animate, functioning, awake, conscious

Examples from the Web for breathing

Contemporary Examples of breathing

Historical Examples of breathing

  • It is only the true lover to whom the breathing form is as sacred as the breathless.

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • At length her head came up a little and her breathing was easier and easier.

  • A man is but a beast as he lives from day to day, eating and drinking, breathing and sleeping.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Wilson was breathing quietly: his color was coming up, as he rallied from the shock.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • For a long time he did not move, but I could see he was breathing.


British Dictionary definitions for breathing

breathing

noun
  1. the passage of air into and out of the lungs to supply the body with oxygen
  2. a single breatha breathing between words
  3. an utterancea breathing of hate
  4. a soft movement, esp of air
  5. a rest or pause
  6. phonetics
    1. expulsion of breath (rough breathing) or absence of such expulsion (smooth breathing) preceding the pronunciation of an initial vowel or rho in ancient Greek
    2. either of two symbols indicating this
Show More

breathe

verb
  1. to take in oxygen from (the surrounding medium, esp air) and give out carbon dioxide; respire
  2. (intr) to exist; be aliveevery animal that breathes on earth
  3. (intr) to rest to regain breath, composure, etcstop your questions, and give me a chance to breathe
  4. (intr) (esp of air) to blow lightlythe wind breathed through the trees
  5. (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
  6. (tr) phonetics to articulate (a speech sound) without vibration of the vocal cordsCompare voice (def. 19)
  7. to exhale or emitthe dragon breathed fire
  8. (tr) to impart; instilto breathe confidence into the actors
  9. (tr) to speak softly; whisperto breathe words of love
  10. (tr) to permit to restto breathe a horse
  11. (intr) (of a material) to allow air to pass through so that perspiration can evaporate
  12. breathe again, breathe freely or breathe easily to feel reliefI could breathe again after passing the exam
  13. breathe down someone's neck to stay close to someone, esp to oversee what they are doingthe cops are breathing down my neck
  14. breathe one's last to die or be finished or defeated
Show More

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 breathing

breathe

v.

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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

breathing in Medicine

breathing

(brēðĭng)
n.
  1. The alternate inhalation and exhalation of air in respiration.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with breathing

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
Show More
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.