adjective, breath·i·er, breath·i·est.

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

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 breathy

Contemporary Examples of breathy

Historical Examples of breathy

  • The big man's voice had reached the high, breathy pitch of a fife.

    Out Like a Light

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • His tones are forced, harsh, and breathy; they lack musical quality.

  • But, this time, the monosyllable was breathy, and not sharp.

    The Brentons

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • This to a brief, blunt block of child who made some breathy noise.

    Wilderness of Spring

    Edgar Pangborn

  • Now he felt Aria close to him, heard her voice trembling and breathy.

    Circle of Flight

    Richard Stockham

British Dictionary definitions for breathy


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 breathy

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper