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

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

During the debate on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators also introduced an amendment that would explicitly bar US air refueling of Saudi aircraft involved in the Yemen war. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Senate debates resolution to end US support for war in Yemen," 13 Dec. 2018 With convective heating, on the other hand, the heating element doesn't come in direct contact with the herb, but rather heats up the air around it. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "8 of the Best Weed Vaporizers for the Total Beginner," 13 Dec. 2018 Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the exact sites for developing vacant land and air-rights sales haven't yet been determined. WSJ, "NYCHA to Open Land to Developers to Raise $3 Billion for Fixes," 12 Dec. 2018 Density means shorter commutes and less driving, leading to less congestion, fewer road fatalities, and improved health outcomes from cleaner air. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As cities confront climate change, is density the answer?," 11 Dec. 2018 The bomber pilot flew in one of the largest air battles of World War II, the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "George H.W. Bush Has Died at Age 94," 1 Dec. 2018 Even simply going outside for some fresh air and a brief walk can help clear your head. Emily Chiu, Redbook, "6 Simple Things That Help Me Deal With Holiday Depression," 29 Nov. 2018 Since the collection includes the upcoming final season, the set will likely be released after the finale airs. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Game of Thrones Reunion Special Is Happening," 28 Nov. 2018 The highly energetic particles in a cosmic ray’s air shower plow through the water faster than light can. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hallmark premieres most of the original movies on Saturdays and Sundays, a time when other networks air sports or re-runs. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Secret Formula Behind Hallmark's Christmas Movie Empire," 30 Nov. 2018 An Under Armour campaign aired during this season’s NFL telecasts on Amazon, showcasing athletes going through gritty training sessions, followed viewers elsewhere on Amazon’s platforms once the games had finished. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "Amazon, With Little Fanfare, Emerges as an Advertising Giant," 27 Nov. 2018 Get ready to go back to Mystic Falls once again as the highly anticipate The Vampire Diaries and The Originals spin-off Legacies finally airs. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Meet the Cast of "Legacies" and Their Characters," 11 Oct. 2018 Back in 2009, Kourtney famously pulled Mason Disick out of her own body in footage that was aired on KUWTK. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kris Jenner Delivered Kylie Jenner's Daughter, Stormi Webster," 22 Sep. 2018 The 70th annual Emmys will air live from Hollywood on Sept. 17 (at 8 p.m. ET) on NBC. Dave Quinn,, "Sandra Oh Makes History as the First Asian Woman to Be Nominated for a Best Actress Emmy," 12 July 2018 The last three episodes of the season, focusing on Berlin, Cajun Mardi Gras, and Bhutan, aired after Bourdain's death. Andrea Park, Condé Nast Traveler, "Anthony Bourdain's 'Parts Unknown' Nominated for 6 Emmys," 12 July 2018 Trump had presumably just seen the first in a series of minute-long television commercials that Steyer funded, starred in, and aired everywhere from the World Series to Fox & Friends, calling for the president’s impeachment. Rob Haskell, Vogue, "Billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer on Impeaching Trump, Getting Out the Vote, and Winning in 2020," 14 Nov. 2018 The episodes of the new series will air at the same time on both networks. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "A 'While You Were Out' Reboot Is Coming to TLC and HGTV," 29 Oct. 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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Learn More about air

Dictionary Entries near air







air alert

Statistics for air

Last Updated

16 Dec 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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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

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).


to make faulty or ineffective

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