noun, often attributive
\ ˈer How to pronounce air (audio) \

Definition of air

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the mixture of invisible odorless tasteless gases (such as nitrogen and oxygen) that surrounds the earth also : the equivalent mix of gases on another planet … the thin, frigid air of Mars. — Stefano S. Coledan
b : a light breeze
c archaic : breath
2a(1) : aircraft traveling by air
(2) : aviation air safety air rights
(3) : air force air headquarters
b(1) : the medium of transmission of radio waves also : radio, television went on the air
(2) : airtime
3a : outward appearance of a thing an air of luxury
b : a surrounding or pervading influence : atmosphere an air of mystery
c : the look, appearance, or bearing of a person especially as expressive of some personal quality or emotion : demeanor an air of dignity
d : an artificial or affected manner put on airs
4a : nothingness usually used in the phrases into thin air and out of thin airvanished/disappeared into thin air… nor did any of them seem to have noticed that six people had just melted into thin air in front of them.— J. K. Rowling… jobs can't just be created out of thin air.The Wall Street Journal
b : empty space
c old-fashioned : a sudden severance of relations She gave me the air.
5 [probably translation of Italian aria]
a : tune, melody a lilting air
b : the chief voice part or melody in choral music
c Elizabethan and Jacobean music : an accompanied song or melody in usually strophic form
6 : an air-conditioning system a house with central air
7 : public utterance He gave air to his opinion.
8 : a football offense utilizing primarily the forward pass Trailing by 20 points, the team took to the air.
9 : the height achieved in performing an aerial maneuver a snowboarder catching big air also : the maneuver itself
in the air
: being felt or expressed by many people : in wide circulation There was a sense of anticipation in the air.
up in the air
: not yet settled a question that's still up in the air


aired; airing; airs

Definition of air (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to expose to the air for drying, purifying, or refreshing : ventilate often used with outHe opened the windows to air out the room.
2 : to expose to public view or bring to public notice aired their complaints
3 : to transmit by radio or television air a program

intransitive verb

1 : to become exposed to the open air The blankets were left outside to air.
2 : to become broadcast a program that airs daily

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Other Words from air


airless \ ˈer-​ləs How to pronounce airless (audio) \ adjective
airlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for air

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for air


pose, air, airs, affectation, mannerism mean an adopted way of speaking or behaving. pose implies an attitude deliberately assumed in order to impress others. her shyness was just a pose air may suggest natural acquirement through environment or way of life. a traveler's sophisticated air airs always implies artificiality and pretentiousness. snobbish airs affectation applies to a trick of speech or behavior that strikes the observer as insincere. the posh accent is an affectation mannerism applies to an acquired eccentricity that has become a habit. gesturing with a cigarette was her most noticeable mannerism


express, vent, utter, voice, broach, air mean to make known what one thinks or feels. express suggests an impulse to reveal in words, gestures, actions, or what one creates or produces. expressed her feelings in music vent stresses a strong inner compulsion to express especially in words. a tirade venting his frustration utter implies the use of the voice not necessarily in articulate speech. utter a groan voice does not necessarily imply vocal utterance but does imply expression or formulation in words. an editorial voicing their concerns broach adds the implication of disclosing for the first time something long thought over or reserved for a suitable occasion. broached the subject of a divorce air implies an exposing or parading of one's views often in order to gain relief or sympathy or attention. publicly airing their differences

Examples of air in a Sentence

Noun These laws are meant to produce cleaner air. A delicious smell filled the air. I like to dine outdoors in the open air. He can't breathe! Everybody move back and give him some air! High in the mountains the air is thin and it can be hard to breathe. He pumped air into the bicycle tire. The city is wonderful seen from the air. the fish of the sea and the birds of the air The balloon rose up into the air and then floated through the air. There has been heavy fighting on the ground and in the air. Verb The blankets were left outside to air. She opened the windows to air the room. The company had a meeting so that employees could air their complaints. The interview will be aired tomorrow. The interview will air tomorrow.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His administration has reversed a number of regulations imposed by President Barack Obama, who said they were needed for cleaner air and water. Tyler Bridges,, "Joe Biden's focus on promoting green energy could cost jobs in south Louisiana; here's why," 18 Oct. 2020 Avoid triggering situations and distract yourself from the blues by stepping outside for some air or taking an extended lunch break with a work friend. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for October 17, 2020," 17 Oct. 2020 In reality, the Trump administration has dynamited President Obama's Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pulled out of the Paris climate accords, and rolled back several other protections for air, water, and greenhouse gases. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Why Republicans lie about their own terrible policies," 15 Oct. 2020 Floyd, who was begging for air during the incident, later died in police custody. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "NYPD tells officers be 'prepared for deployment' at protests as Election Day approaches," 13 Oct. 2020 With temperatures in Germany frequently dropping to freezing, children in the city of Bochum are bracing for a crisp learning environment as officials advise teachers to open the windows for fresh air every 20 minutes. Washington Post, "With winter on the way and windows open, Europe’s students prepare for the cold," 13 Oct. 2020 Floyd, who was Black, died in May after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes despite Floyd's pleas for air. CBS News, "Police chief says there's no reason to fire Wisconsin officer who killed teen," 13 Oct. 2020 In June, The Austin American Statesman and KVUE published disturbing video of Ambler’s struggle with police and his final moments gasping for air, captured by the body camera of an Austin police officer who responded to the scene. NBC News, "'Live PD' was canceled. But in one Texas county, its twisted legacy lives on," 11 Oct. 2020 Following his release, Trump lurched onto the White House balcony, preened there for a minute in a vaguely Axis Powers fashion, then tore off his mask for no apparent reason other than to give a double thumbs-up and seemingly struggle for air. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "A Thrilling Week Inside Trump’s Flailing Masculinity Death Cult," 9 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 49ers didn't exactly air it out on the opening drive with all four of Garoppolo's passes being thrown behind the line of scrimmage. Josh Dubow, Star Tribune, "Jimmy Garoppolo throws 3 TD passes, 49ers beat Rams 24-16," 18 Oct. 2020 After it was announced that NBC would air that event, a number of top performers and producers -- including talent that currently work on NBC shows -- signed a letter asking the network brass to rethink that decision. Danielle Turchiano,, "‘Saturday Night Live’ recreates presidential town halls, Chance the Rapper joins Justin Bieber," 18 Oct. 2020 Kickoff for the matchup is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will air nationally on ABC. Maya Ellison,, "FSU focuses on playing its best football against UNC," 16 Oct. 2020 Five weeks ago, Apple said big Chinese social media sites like Tencent Video, Bilibili, Iqiyi, and Weibo would air Cook’s live stream. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Apple’s 5G iPhone debut didn’t go as planned in the world’s biggest 5G market," 14 Oct. 2020 The ads are expected to start running this week and will air through the end of the month, the group says. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, "Pro-Trump super PAC spending $1M to target Biden over Antifa," 14 Oct. 2020 It is now set to premiere on October 13, marking the first time the series will air in the fall. Therese Odell, Houston Chronicle, "Quarantine bubbles, extreme distancing and no house band: How TV networks are getting through COVID," 13 Oct. 2020 In his case, Mr. Bolling said the president would expand his audience because Sinclair programs air on mainstream stations across the country — albeit with an interviewer the president knows and is comfortable with. Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, "As Trump Recovers, He Retreats to a Conservative Media Safe Space," 10 Oct. 2020 Game 5 of the NBA Finals is set for Friday and will air on ABC at 9 p.m. EST. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "LeBron James Wears Kobe Bryant Tribute Shirt Before Winning Game 4 of NBA Finals," 7 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'air.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of air


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for air

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin aer, from Greek aēr air

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Time Traveler for air

Time Traveler

The first known use of air was in the 14th century

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Statistics for air

Last Updated

22 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Air.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for air


How to pronounce air (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of air

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the invisible mixture of gases (such as nitrogen and oxygen) that surrounds the Earth and that people and animals breathe
: the space or sky that is filled with air
: methods of travel that involve flying



English Language Learners Definition of air (Entry 2 of 2)

: to place something in an open area where there is a lot of moving air to make it cool, dry, or clean
: to allow air from the outside to enter something (such as a room) so that it becomes fresher or cleaner
: to make (something) known in public : to state (something) publicly


\ ˈer How to pronounce air (audio) \

Kids Definition of air

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the invisible mixture of odorless tasteless gases that surrounds the earth
2 : the space or sky that is filled with air The balloon rose up into the air.
3 : air that is compressed I filled the car's tires with air.
4 : outward appearance : a quality that a person or thing has He has an air of mystery about him.
5 : aircraft travel by air
7 : a radio or television broadcast He gave a speech on the air.
8 airs plural : an artificial way of acting put on airs


aired; airing

Kids Definition of air (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to place in the air for cooling, freshening, or cleaning air blankets
2 : to make known in public air complaints


\ ˈa(ə)r, ˈe(ə)r How to pronounce air (audio) \

Medical Definition of air

: a mixture of invisible odorless tasteless sound-transmitting gases that is composed by volume chiefly of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, 0.9 percent argon, 0.03 percent carbon dioxide, varying amounts of water vapor, and minute amounts of rare gases (as helium), that surrounds the earth with half its mass within four miles of the earth's surface, that has a pressure at sea level of about 14.7 pounds per square inch, and that has a density of 1.293 grams per liter at 0°C and 760 mm pressure

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