[ breth-lis ]
/ ˈbrɛθ lɪs /


without breath or breathing with difficulty; gasping; panting: We were breathless after the steep climb.
with the breath held, as in suspense, astonishment, fear, or the like: breathless listeners of the mystery story.
causing loss of breath, as from excitement, anticipation, or tension: a breathless ride.
dead; lifeless.
motionless or still, as air without a breeze: a breathless summer day.

Nearby words

  1. breathing,
  2. breathing bag,
  3. breathing reserve,
  4. breathing space,
  5. breathingly,
  6. breathlessly,
  7. breathtaking,
  8. breathtakingly,
  9. breathy,
  10. breccia

Origin of breathless

First recorded in 1350–1400, breathless is from the Middle English word brethles. See breath, -less

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

Examples from the Web for breathlessly

British Dictionary definitions for breathlessly


/ (ˈbrɛθlɪs) /


out of breath; gasping, etc
holding one's breath or having it taken away by excitement, etca breathless confrontation
(esp of the atmosphere) motionless and stifling
rare lifeless; dead
Derived Formsbreathlessly, adverbbreathlessness, 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 breathlessly



late 14c., "unable to breathe," from breath + -less. Meaning "out of breath, panting" is from mid-15c. Used from 1590s in the sense "dead." Meaning "forgetting to breathe due to excitement, awe, anticipation, etc." is recorded from 1802. Related: Breathlessly; breathlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper