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 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 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 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 So far in January, air travel in the U.S. is down nearly 60% from a year ago. David Koenig, ajc, "A $12 billion loss for 2020, Delta is cautious in early 2021," 14 Jan. 2021 Goldstein, in the release, touted the potential for mass electric air travel to transform transportation. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gets into air taxi business with Silicon Valley's Archer," 13 Jan. 2021 The Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea on Saturday didn’t fly for nearly nine months last year, with air travel severely reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic, Indonesia’s transportation ministry said. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Boeing Plane That Crashed in Indonesia Didn’t Fly for Nine Months," 12 Jan. 2021 But while air travel is down sharply, many people have continued to travel to vacation destinations in their own regions. oregonlive, "Vacasa hires new CFO," 12 Jan. 2021 Currently, all international air travel coming into or out of South Africa is prohibited except those flights authorized by the country’s Minister of Transport. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "The new COVID-19 variants are still a mystery, but here’s what we know so far," 7 Jan. 2021 Cook’s salary was $3 million, with $10.7 million in non-equity compensation and $1 million in other compensation, including air travel and security. William Thornton |, al, "Apple CEO Tim Cook’s made $15 million last year," 6 Jan. 2021 Since Christmas Day, only two days, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, saw fewer than 1 million passengers pass through TSA checkpoints — a feat of sustained air travel not seen since March. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "US starts 2021 with record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations," 4 Jan. 2021 This includes anything from air travel and hotel stays to car rentals, train travel, tolls and more. Jennifer Yellin, CNN Underscored, "Cash is king: The best cash back credit cards for 2021," 3 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which was postponed from Dec. 2020 because of COVID-19, will air on CBS June 6 at 9 p.m. eastern. Shacamree Gowdy, Chron, "Houston's Debbie Allen 'truly humbled' to be named Kennedy Center honoree," 14 Jan. 2021 The ceremony, which will consist of small in-person events and virtual tributes over several days in mid-May, will air on CBS on June 6. Devon Ivie, Vulture, "Dick Van Dyke and Joan Baez Among 2021 Kennedy Center Honors," 13 Jan. 2021 The Bucs’ home game against the Atlanta Falcons is set to kick off at 1 p.m. and will air on Fox (WOFL-Channel 35). Iliana Limón Romero,, "Key Dolphins game to air on CBS in Orlando on Sunday," 28 Dec. 2020 The program will air live at noon every Wednesday at, with the first scheduled for Jan. 6, a city news release said., "Naperville News Digest," 28 Dec. 2020 Friday's program will air live at 8 p.m. Friday on Twin Cities Public Television's Minnesota channel and Classical Minnesota Public Radio and on the Minnesota Orchestra's Facebook and YouTube pages. Rob Hubbard, Star Tribune, "Orchestra aims to reflect Minnesota's diversity in its virtual 'Midwinter Gathering'," 15 Dec. 2020 The entire ceremony will air on Facebook on Thursday. Mike Freeman, USA TODAY, "Colin Kaepernick delivers poignant speech after accepting humanitarian award," 15 Dec. 2020 The unscripted special is set to tape on September 10th, the date the show first premiered in 1990, and will air on around Thanksgiving, according to a press release. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, ""Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" mansion will be available on Airbnb," 14 Sep. 2020 The game is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m., and will air on ABC. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville to host ESPN's College GameDay next week in Miami matchup," 13 Sep. 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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Air.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on air

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