noun, often attributive
\ ˈer How to pronounce air (audio) \

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 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
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 How to pronounce airless (audio) \ 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

The transponders can help prevent mid-air collisions. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "NTSB comes to Alaska to find solutions to string of air crashes," 7 Sep. 2019 In 1940, Nazi Germany began its eight-month blitz of Britain during World War II with the first air attack on London., "This day in history," 7 Sep. 2019 Remember in the season finale, when Jackson (Jesse Williams) took a walk in the fog and apparently just vanished into thin air, leaving Maggie (Kelly McCreary) scared and alone and searching for him? Ruth Kinane,, "Meredith carries out community service in the first Grey's Anatomy season 16 trailer," 6 Sep. 2019 Let’s begin the transition toward cleaner indoor air, safety from gas explosions and fires, and greatly reduced climate emissions. Mario Dianda, The Mercury News, "Letters to The Daily News," 6 Sep. 2019 Minnesota Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles is wading into a standoff between state regulators and an embattled air-polluting factory in White Bear Township. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "State legislative auditor will investigate MPCA for its handling of Water Gremlin scandal," 6 Sep. 2019 Alani glued the foam inside the tube leading from the outside of the plane to its air data module, federal prosecutors allege. Fox News, "American Airlines mechanic allegedly tampered with plane in Miami to delay or cancel flight," 6 Sep. 2019 Tehama County Fire and Cal Fire’s Tehama-Glenn Unit were responding to the fire, which was 0% contained, and aircrafts were on scene: six tankers, three helicopters and one air attack aircraft, said Dave Doughty, a TCF spokesman. Pete Grieve,, "Mandatory evacuations ordered as Red Bank fire burns 5,000 acres in Tehama County," 5 Sep. 2019 Spice took a more aromatic turn with lamb tossed in onions and peppers and enough cumin to make the air smell like the spice aisle at Whole Foods. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Li’s Restaurant gives Chinese food fans a Sichuan fix in San Antonio’s Stone Oak," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The final episode aired just hours after filming wrapped, and in the neighborhood of Médina, the sandy streets began to quiet as families settled around televisions. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "Brazen Women. Scandalized Viewers. It’s ‘Sex and the City,’ Senegal Style.," 22 Aug. 2019 But as the episodes aired, Horstmann posted their text messages on his Instagram Story. Hanna Flanagan,, "Colton Underwood Says Blake and Caelynn Both 'Made Mistakes' in Bachelor in Paradise Scandal," 22 Aug. 2019 In celebration of the series’ 50th anniversary, Questlove will co-executive produce the upcoming Broadway musical based on the iconic music variety program created by Don Cornelius that aired from 1971 to 2006. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "A ‘Soul Train’ Musical Is Coming To Broadway And Questlove Is Lending His Magic," 20 Aug. 2019 If things had worked out differently, Perriman would be with the Cleveland Browns, the Bucs’ opponent at 7:30 Friday night at Raymond James Stadium in a game that will air in the Orlando area on WESH-Channel 2. Stephen Ruiz,, "Former UCF receiver Breshad Perriman looks to stick with Bucs after bouncing around NFL," 20 Aug. 2019 She was celebrated with a starry, two-hour Grammy tribute show that aired on CBS in March, featuring performances by Jennifer Hudson, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys and others. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Aretha Franklin: A year after death, she remains larger than life," 16 Aug. 2019 Castro has purchased a TV ad that will air Wednesday on Fox News -- Trump's favorite channel -- in Bedminster, N.J., where Trump is vacationing this week at his golf course. Dallas News, "Beto O'Rourke returns to campaign trail, Gov. Greg Abbott's domestic terrorism task force, Dallas tax hike," 15 Aug. 2019 The Return, which Brown wrote, produced, directed, and stars in, will make its triumphant debut with back-to-back episodes airing at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT Aug. 25 on the Food Network. Lauren Huff,, "Alton Brown's Good Eats is back with a delightfully quirky trailer," 9 Aug. 2019 Video and pictures aired by local media showed flames shooting out of the prison. Anchorage Daily News, "Dozens of inmates killed in Brazil prison riot, with at least 16 decapitated," 29 July 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Dictionary Entries near air







air alert

Statistics for air

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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 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

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

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recurring in steady succession

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