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 & 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 Born in Riverside, Calif., Imus made a name for himself for his controversial and offensive comments on the air. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Don Imus, controversial radio personality, dies at 79," 27 Dec. 2019 Plastic has become an inescapable problem; up to 12.7 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean each year, and microplastics have been found everywhere from oceans to soils, the air, and the bodies of animals and humans. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Hawaii Museum Has Eliminated the Sale of All Single-Use Plastics," 27 Dec. 2019 To keep Rush on the air, producer Roxy Richardson (Sonequa Martin-Green) and his Aunt Jo (Darlene Love) plan to help him buy another station. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Your guide to all of Netflix’s new holiday movies for 2019," 24 Dec. 2019 That network had a market value of $4.77 billion after one year on air, Alabama's reported at the time. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "A night in Louisville's huge ACC Network broadcast center can change how you watch games," 23 Dec. 2019 Not even a bout of stomach flu can keep her from going on air. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "The Tangled Politics of Bombshell," 20 Dec. 2019 The bar at the Linnet Inn is empty, the door is locked; dust hangs in the air reflecting the afternoon sunlight and echoes of silence rattle in the corners. Smithsonian, "Soil From a Northern Ireland Graveyard May Lead Scientists to a Powerful New Antibiotic," 19 Dec. 2019 Earlier this year, Masterpiece also established an anniversary fund, as the anthology series approaches its 50th year on the air. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Susanne Simpson, the New Woman Behind Your Favorite Masterpiece PBS Shows, Previews What's Next," 18 Dec. 2019 A day after her contentious on-air spat with Whoopi Goldberg, Meghan McCain is still speaking out. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Star Meghan McCain Posts Cryptic Tweet After Explosive Fight With Whoopi Goldberg," 17 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The most recent season of FX’s Atlanta aired back in 2018. Paula Rogo, Essence, "'Atlanta' Will Return With Two New Seasons in 2021," 10 Jan. 2020 Creuzot said the comments were made to KDFW days before the interview aired and that the interview was initially supposed to be about mental health. Lavendrick Smith, Dallas News, "Dallas County DA John Creuzot says his office will challenge gag orders after his contempt charge is dropped," 9 Jan. 2020 The Wisconsin duo will find out when their episode will air later this month. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Engaged Oconomowoc dog trainers will be on A&E's new show 'America's Top Dog'," 8 Jan. 2020 Partly inspired by Drescher's experience growing up in Queens and molded around her larger-than-life comedic persona and nasal foghorn voice, the sitcom has aired in over 90 countries and more than 30 languages. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Nanny' in Development as Broadway Musical," 8 Jan. 2020 With her sister Sara Foster, Erin created the TV series Barely Famous, a mockumentary of reality TV that first aired back in 2015 and became a VH1 cult classic. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Erin Foster Wore a Danielle Frankel Dress With a Statement Sleeve at Her New Year’s Eve Wedding in Nashville," 8 Jan. 2020 No previous campaign ads aired during the Super Bowl came close to the reach of Bloomberg’s and Trump’s. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump’s dueling Super Bowl ads are unprecedented," 8 Jan. 2020 Basketball Day Indiana includes historic Memorial Gymnasium in Kokomo, Ind., playing host to four high school boys basketball games airing live at 11 a.m. on Fox Sports Indiana along with IHSAA girls sectional game reports and more. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Basketball Day Indiana to feature 27 hours of hoops for Hoosiers," 7 Jan. 2020 Both have recently begun airing television ads and may depend on them to keep a presence in early states during the trial. Garrett Haake, NBC News, "Sanders shuttle: Trump trial could trap candidates in D.C. One senator has an escape plan.," 7 Jan. 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

30 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Air.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on air

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for air

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on air

What made you want to look up air? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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