noun, often attributive
\ˈer \

Definition of air 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a archaic : breath

b : 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

c : a light breeze

2a : empty space

b : nothingness vanished into thin air

c old-fashioned : a sudden severance of relations She gave me the air.

3 [ probably translation of Italian aria ]

a : tune, melody a lilting air

b Elizabethan & Jacobean music : an accompanied song or melody in usually strophic form

c : the chief voice part or melody in choral music

4a : 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

5 : public utterance He gave air to his opinion.

7a(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

8 : a football offense utilizing primarily the forward pass Trailing by 20 points, the team took to the air.

9 : an air-conditioning system a house with central air

10 : 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 \-ləs \ adjective
airlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for air

Synonyms: Noun

act, charade, disguise, facade (also façade), front, guise, masquerade, playacting, pose, pretense (or pretence), put-on, semblance, show

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 little girl, who police identified as Makayla S. Bowling, was taken by air ambulance to the Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "6-year-old girl in southern Indiana dies after an accidental gunshot wound," 14 July 2018 Peak wind gusts were 75 mph at Davenport, Iowa, 70 mph at South Wayne, Wis., and 65 mph at Dubuque, Iowa and Nora, Ill. Cooler and less humid air should arrive by Tuesday and linger most of next week. Tom Skilling,, "Storms to accompany weekend warmth and humidity," 13 July 2018 Parts of MCI-Cedar Junction and MCI-Walpole are air conditioned and standing fans are used in the rest of the facility, the state’s Department of Correction said. Laura Crimaldi,, "Health inspectors visit prisons after receiving complaints about heat," 13 July 2018 Albert Pujols continues to move into rarified baseball air. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Albert Pujols ties Ken Griffey Jr. on career HR list, ties Rickey Henderson on career hits," 13 July 2018 The air of uncertainty over which way the decision will go following video review adds to the drama of the game - a relatively irrelevant detail in terms of what VAR sets out to achieve, but an entertaining aspect of the system, nevertheless., "Why VAR is a Step in the Right Direction for Football Despite the Continued Scrutiny," 12 July 2018 With 8,363 luxurious square feet, this mid-air mansion encompasses the top two floors of the eight-story People’s Building, Charleston’s first skyscraper. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "The Incredible Two-Story Penthouse Atop Charleston’s People’s Building Can Be Yours for $16,500,000," 11 July 2018 Heat stroke results in several fatalities per year in those areas, and hundreds of people require medical services or air rescues each year, forest service officials said. Ramona Sentinel, "Town sizzles through record-breaking heat," 11 July 2018 In the wake of this activity, moist, tropical air is to remain in place, bringing a lingering chance of isolated storms through Sunday night. Tom Skilling,, "Rise in humidity ups chance of thunderstorms," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

People Magazine Investigates: Crimes of Fashion, The Assassination of Maurizio Gucci airs Monday (9 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery. Adam Carlson,, "Decades After Hit Man Killed Gucci Mogul, the Ex-Wife Convicted of His Murder Speaks Out," 13 July 2018 In all, nearly 386,000 television spots focused on House and Senate races have aired between Jan. 1 and July 8 of this year, ranging from ads by candidates to those funded by outside groups. Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: Secret money funds more than 40% of outside congressional ads," 12 July 2018 The network recently took over the Cup Series schedule — FOX Sports has the first half of the season — and will air its third race Saturday with the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Grading Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first NASCAR race broadcasts," 11 July 2018 Other network branches airing the esport include ESPN2, ESPNEWS and online on ESPN3. Daniel Wilson, sacbee, "Video game ‘Overwatch’ airing live on cable TV starting Wednesday evening," 11 July 2018 While there might be something to be said for a wine meant to be consumed as consolation while watching one of the most notoriously emotionally stressful shows currently airing, Lot18’s marketing went in a slightly different direction. Karen Han, Vox, "Creepy Handmaid’s Tale wine announced, canceled within 24 hours," 11 July 2018 News of a possible sequel for the film started back in 2012, and in 2017, Deadline confirmed that Freeform would be airing the movie in 2018. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, ""Life Size 2" Has Started Filming With a Lead Who Isn't Lindsay Lohan," 9 July 2018 The election happened midway through shooting, and the show aired so early on in the presidency that Season 1 still played for me as a kind of hypothetical doomsday scenario. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Max Minghella Talks Playing the Only Good Man in Gilead on The Handmaid's Tale," 5 July 2018 On the day of Mr Sharif’s return, Pakistan’s media regulator warned media companies against airing footage of the return. The Economist, "Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan, and jail," 14 July 2018

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 1b


1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for air


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


see air entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near air







air alert

Statistics for air

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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 \

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 \

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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