See more synonyms for lung on
  1. either of the two saclike respiratory organs in the thorax of humans and the higher vertebrates.
  2. an analogous organ in certain invertebrates, as arachnids or terrestrial gastropods.
  1. at the top of one's lungs, as loudly as possible; with full voice: The baby cried at the top of his lungs.

Origin of lung

before 1000; Middle English lungen, Old English; cognate with German Lunge; akin to light2, lights
Related formslunged [luhngd] /lʌŋd/, adjectivehalf-lunged, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for lungs

bronchi, alveolus, pleura

Examples from the Web for lungs

Contemporary Examples of lungs

Historical Examples of lungs

  • They are a pack of ignorant blockheads; you are suffering from the lungs.

  • Chip took the cigarette from his lips and emptied his lungs of smoke.

  • Chip emptied his lungs of smoke, and turned the shoe in his hands.

  • Every man was singing or shouting at the full strength of his lungs.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • How it filled one's lungs and brought with it life, courage and confidence!

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

British Dictionary definitions for lungs


  1. either one of a pair of spongy saclike respiratory organs within the thorax of higher vertebrates, which oxygenate the blood and remove its carbon dioxide
  2. any similar or analogous organ in other vertebrates or in invertebrates
  3. at the top of one's lungs in one's loudest voice; yelling
Related formsRelated adjectives: pneumonic, pulmonary, pulmonic

Word Origin for lung

Old English lungen; related to Old High German lungun lung. Compare lights ²
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 lungs



"human respiratory organ," c.1300, from Old English lungen (plural), from Proto-Germanic *lungw- (cf. Old Norse lunge, Old Frisian lungen, Middle Dutch longhe, Dutch long, Old High German lungun, German lunge "lung"), literally "the light organ," from PIE *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight; easy, agile, nimble" (cf. Russian lëgkij, Polish lekki "light;" Russian lëgkoje "lung," Greek elaphros "light" in weight; see also lever).

The notion probably is from the fact that, when thrown into a pot of water, lungs of a slaughtered animal float, while the heart, liver, etc., do not. Cf. also Portuguese leve "lung," from Latin levis "light;" Irish scaman "lungs," from scaman "light;" Welsh ysgyfaint "lungs," from ysgafn "light." See also lights, pulmonary. Lung cancer attested from 1882.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lungs in Medicine


  1. Either of the two saclike organs of respiration that occupy the pulmonary cavity of the thorax and in which aeration of the blood takes place. It is common for the right lung, which is divided into three lobes, to be slightly larger than the left, which has two lobes.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

lungs in Science


  1. Either of two spongy organs in the chest of air-breathing vertebrate animals that serve as the organs of gas exchange. Blood flowing through the lungs picks up oxygen from inhaled air and releases carbon dioxide, which is exhaled. Air enters and leaves the lungs through the bronchial tubes.
  2. A similar organ found in some invertebrates.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lungs in Culture


A pair of organs, the principal parts of the respiratory system, at the front of the cavity of the chest, or thorax. In the lungs, oxygen from the air that is inhaled is transferred into the blood, while carbon dioxide is removed from the blood and exhaled.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with lungs


see at the top of one's lungs.

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