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 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 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 air (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 As images of mass cremation sites, overcrowded hospitals and people gasping for air continue to overwhelm our social media feeds and news, one thing became apparent: People are on their own like never before. Akanksha Singh, CNN, "Modi has offered little more than hollow words amid India's horrifying covid crisis," 1 May 2021 The decision was one of the most significant steps yet taken by the White House in response to the crush of new infections in India, where over 3,000 people are dying each day as citizens gasp for air on the streets. New York Times, "U.S. Moves to Restrict Travel From India as Virus Infections and Deaths Surge," 30 Apr. 2021 Both teams were gasping for air in the extra session., "Celtics stage massive comeback to stun Spurs in overtime as Jayson Tatum scores 60 points," 30 Apr. 2021 One of our 400-meter runners was in the fetal position, legs wobbly, gasping for air after her race. oregonlive, "Canzano: Monday Mailbag readers implore Gov. Kate Brown to allow kids to run outdoors without masks," 26 Apr. 2021 Doctors are inundated with patients gasping for air, and crematoriums are overwhelmed with bodies. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: The perils of public health service," 26 Apr. 2021 In Chauvin's case, by contrast, cellphone video seen around the world showed the white officer pressing his knee to the Black man's neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd gasped for air. Star Tribune, "Grim list of deaths at police hands grows even after verdict," 22 Apr. 2021 Large-scale production at Mars could yield oxygen not only for air, but also rocket fuel. Marcia Dunn,, "NASA’s Mars helicopter soars higher, longer on 2nd flight," 22 Apr. 2021 The devastating wave has led to grim and chaotic scenes of bodies piling up at crematoriums, while patients gasp for air at crowded coronavirus wards as oxygen supplies run low. Washington Post, "Covid-19 live updates India announces most daily new infections in history of the pandemic with nearly 315,000," 22 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The episodes, which are expected to air during the summer, will put the 51-year-old in the mix for the permanent hosting job. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, "Sportscaster Joe Buck will guest-host 'Jeopardy!' this summer, per report," 17 Apr. 2021 Some media reports, like this one from Looper, speculate that the actors will leave Yellowstone after season 4, expected to air this summer, to star in the spin-off series. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "A 'Yellowstone' Spin-off Series is Coming: Everything We Know About '6666' so Far," 7 Mar. 2021 The exact dates for the finale and premiere aren’t yet announced, but the season is expected to air over two years, according to Deadline, ending just in time for the Daryl and Carol spinoff set to be released in 2023. Ashley Chervinski,, "You’ve Got Plenty Of Time To Prepare For The End Of The Walking Dead," 28 Feb. 2021 The eight-episode second season, starring Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Feya Allan, is expected to air sometime in 2021. James Hibberd,, "Henry Cavill injures leg on The Witcher set," 14 Dec. 2020 The Ad Council asked Colle McVoy to produce a second ad encouraging mask wearing that is expected to air early next year. Dee Depass, Star Tribune, "To make ads connect in COVID era, Minnesota agencies go for jugular, funny bone," 7 Dec. 2020 Paparazzi photos, which snapped the cast on the steps of the Met, offer a glimpse into the fashion of the new series, which is expected to air sometime in early 2021. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Fashion in the New 'Gossip Girl' Looks Nothing Like the Original. And That's a Good Thing.," 11 Nov. 2020 Trump sat with Stahl of CBS News on Tuesday for a segment that is expected to air on Sunday. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Trump threatens to post 60 Minutes interview prior to airtime 'for the sake of accuracy'," 20 Oct. 2020 The show is expected to air at least four more live episodes through the end of the month. New York Times, "‘S.N.L.’ Had a Live Audience. It Went Home With Paychecks.," 6 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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Air.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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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