[ hweez, weez ]
/ ʰwiz, wiz /

verb (used without object), wheezed, wheez·ing.

to breathe with difficulty and with a whistling sound: Asthma caused him to wheeze.
to make a sound resembling difficult breathing: The old locomotive wheezed into the station.


a wheezing breath or sound.
an old and frequently used joke, saying, story, etc.

Nearby words

  1. wheelwork,
  2. wheelwright,
  3. wheelwright, john,
  4. wheen,
  5. wheesh,
  6. wheezy,
  7. whelk,
  8. whelked,
  9. whelm,
  10. whelp

Origin of wheeze

1425–75; late Middle English whese (v.), probably < Old Norse hvæsa to hiss

Related formswheez·er, nounwheez·ing·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wheeze

British Dictionary definitions for wheeze


/ (wiːz) /


to breathe or utter (something) with a rasping or whistling sound
(intr) to make or move with a noise suggestive of wheezy breathing


a husky, rasping, or whistling sound or breathing
British slang a trick, idea, or plan (esp in the phrase good wheeze)
informal a hackneyed joke or anecdote
Derived Formswheezer, nounwheezy, adjectivewheezily, adverbwheeziness, noun

Word Origin for wheeze

C15: probably from Old Norse hvǣsa to hiss

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 wheeze



mid-15c., probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse hvoesa "to hiss," Danish hvæse) cognate with Old English hwæst "act of blowing," hwosan "to cough," from an imitative root. Related: Wheezed; wheezing. The noun is first recorded 1834.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for wheeze


[ wēz ]


To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound.


A wheezing sound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.