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 air vanished/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 & 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 out He 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

lay, melody, song, strain, tune, warble

Synonyms: Verb

expound, express, give, look, raise, sound, state, vent, ventilate, voice

Antonyms: Verb

stifle, suppress

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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


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.


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

The Sun Devils surrendered 404 yards, 291 of that through the air. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU football: What we learned from Sun Devils' upset at Michigan State," 15 Sep. 2019 Prescott ended up 26 for 30 for 269 yards and three touchdowns through the air, plus a 42-yard run. Howard Fendrich,, "Washington again undone by defense in 31-21 loss to Cowboys," 15 Sep. 2019 Bob Jones – 192 total yards through the air. Quarterbacks Rose and Alford alternated series, with Alford completing 12-of-16 for 131 yards and two touchdowns and Rose going 10-of-17 for 61 yards with one TD. Reports, al, "Dee Beckwith scores 4 TDs as Florence runs past Bob Jones," 14 Sep. 2019 When bullets flew through the air early Saturday in East Garfield Park, one 50-year-old man paused and assessed how far away the gunfire sounded. Alice Yin,, "2 men shot in East Garfield Park," 14 Sep. 2019 Kent State has shown nothing through the air, and that won’t change against the Tigers. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Kent State Golden Flashes at Auburn Tigers odds, picks and best bets," 14 Sep. 2019 Johnson finished 17 of 31 for 184 yards through the air. Nathan Cambridge, Burbank Leader, "Burbank football ends nonleague schedule with loss to Hart," 13 Sep. 2019 Touchdown completions of 71 and 49 yards helped Stanzani reach 215 yards through the air. Alexander Harrison,, "Week 3 high school football scores from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana," 13 Sep. 2019 Prediction: Crawford 31, San Ysidro 21 CHULA VISTA at WEST HILLS Chula Vista (0-3) attacks through the air behind QB Omar Perez, who has 699 yards. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Week 4: John Maffei’s football picks and complete schedule," 12 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

WarnerMedia, too, owns a percentage of Seinfeld and will benefit from the Netflix deal despite not having rights to air it on its upcoming HBO Max streamer. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Netflix Snags ‘Seinfeld’ in Five-Year Sony Pact," 16 Sep. 2019 Pelosi's approach will give an avenue to pro-impeachment Democrats to air their case while keeping it off the floor — and out of the minds of swing voters — for now. NBC News, "Pelosi gets squeezed on impeachment," 16 Sep. 2019 Before the season started airing, Dean and Caelynn posted matching photos from Spain and, more recently, they were spotted together in California. Lydia Wang,, "Did Caelynn & Dean’s Mexico Instas Just Spoil Bachelor In Paradise?," 8 Sep. 2019 Another exciting opportunity for us is that Q1 2020 Pet Krewe will be featured in a documentary to be aired on an international network. Lily Shaw, Twin Cities, "Startup Showcase: She crafted a pet project into a retail brand," 8 Sep. 2019 With Costello, the offense was able to air it out more than in past seasons. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC and Stanford dealing with quarterback issues heading into Pac-12 showdown," 6 Sep. 2019 With a stronger arm than Engel, Ouellette will be used to air the ball out on offense more so than in recent memory. Shawn Mcfarland,, "High school football: After an undefeated regular season, Stafford/Somers/East Windsor will need to find new stars to compete in Class S," 27 Aug. 2019 Matt Joy, director of the state's Internet Crimes Against Children task force, said his group has seen increased activity by the citizen groups or individuals over the past year, even though the popular NBC show stopped airing in 2015. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State warning: Don't take part in vigilante actions against suspected online child predators," 26 Aug. 2019 The notorious dance teacher took to social media yesterday to explain that, during this week's episode of the drama-packed reality show, the producers chose not to air one very important dance. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Abby Lee Miller Calls Out 'Dance Moms' Producers For Not Airing Liliana's Winning Solo," 23 Aug. 2019

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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Learn More about air

Dictionary Entries near air







air alert

Statistics for air

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for air

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

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More Definitions for air



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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More from Merriam-Webster on air

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with air

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for air

Spanish Central: Translation of air

Nglish: Translation of air for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of air for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about air

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