[ri-spahyuh r]

verb (used without object), re·spired, re·spir·ing.

to inhale and exhale air for the purpose of maintaining life; breathe.
to breathe freely again, after anxiety, trouble, etc.

verb (used with object), re·spired, re·spir·ing.

to breathe; inhale and exhale.
to exhale.

Origin of respire

1375–1425; late Middle English respiren < Latin respīrāre, equivalent to re- re- + spīrāre to breathe; see spirit
Related formspre·re·spire, verb (used with object), pre·re·spired, pre·re·spir·ing.un·re·spired, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for respire

exhale, inhale, oxidate

Examples from the Web for respire

Historical Examples of respire

  • It appears to respire as easily in the most rarefied air as on the seashore.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • I then began to respire this air anew, and was able to make 16 more inspirations.

    Discovery of Oxygen, Part 2

    Carl Wilhelm Scheele

  • Are you willing that the tempter should intercept it, and respire it polluted into your ear?

  • He laughed, and seemed to respire more air into his broad chest.

    Cinq Mars, Complete

    Alfred de Vigny

  • The Crustaceans, so far as they are aquatic, respire by means of branchi, or gills.

    The Ocean World:

    Louis Figuier

British Dictionary definitions for respire



to inhale and exhale (air); breathe
(intr) to undergo the process of respiration
literary to breathe again in a relaxed or easy manner, as after stress or exertion

Word Origin for respire

C14: from Latin rēspīrāre to exhale, from re- + spīrāre to breathe; see spirit 1
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 respire

late 14c., from Old French respirer (12c.), from Latin respirare "breathe again, breathe in and out," from re- "again" (see re-) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit (n.)). Related: Respired; respiring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

respire in Medicine




To breathe in and out; inhale and exhale.
To undergo the metabolic process of respiration.
To breathe easily again, as after a period of exertion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.