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 Look for the Little Caesars commercial to air in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Little Caesars joins Super Bowl commercial lineup with actor Rainn Wilson," 22 Jan. 2020 News that Boeing's beleaguered 737 Max might not return to the air until mid-2020—which many are taking as meaning June to even July, assuming no further delays—did an immediate number on share prices. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "Boeing’s latest setback may cause a hit to GDP—and a ripple effect through the broader economy," 22 Jan. 2020 Research suggests the ozone hole altered the stratosphere in ways that have caused some large-scale changes in the flow of air around the Southern Hemisphere, including shifts in Antarctic wind patterns and the behavior of the jet stream. Scientific American, "Closing the Ozone Hole Helped Slow Arctic Warming," 22 Jan. 2020 Keep furniture and obstacles away from vents to keep the flow of warm air efficient., cleveland, "Small ways to lower your heating costs this winter," 18 Jan. 2020 Doritos' fan favorite flavor Cool Ranch is getting the Super Bowl treatment with a wild west themed advertisement that is set to air during football's big game. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Sam Elliott's Cowboy Monologue in Doritos Super Bowl Commercial Might Sound Familiar," 17 Jan. 2020 The sound of air expanding the cavity in my chest and then being forced out past the catgut of my vocal chords — that was the sound my mother heard. Maureen Stanton, Longreads, "Through a Glass, Tearfully," 17 Jan. 2020 This is caused when copper is exposed to air and then comes in contact with water. Amy Mitchell, Country Living, "How to Clean Copper so It Goes From Green to Great," 14 Jan. 2020 Brock Nelson tried to feed Anders Lee cross-ice, but McAvoy stabbed the pass out of the air. Matt Porter,, "Observations from the Bruins’ overtime victory over the Islanders," 11 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The documentary will air in its entirety on Local 12. Madeline Mitchell,, "'This is where we break the cycle.' Cincinnati Police present 'Shoot This Not That' documentary," 25 Jan. 2020 The National Football League will air a commercial during the upcoming Super Bowl featuring a former player that addresses a controversial police shooting. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "NFL to air Super Bowl ad addressing police shooting via 'Inspire Change' initiative," 25 Jan. 2020 The Grammy Awards will air on CBS Sunday evening at 8 p.m. EST. Elizabeth Elkind, CBS News, "Veteran music reporter calls Academy fallout with CEO "a nuclear device" in the middle of Grammys week," 24 Jan. 2020 The one-hour Harry & Meghan: The Royals in Crisis will air Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. E.T. on FOX. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are 'the new, young Obamas' in The Royals in Crisis," 24 Jan. 2020 The 92nd annual Academy Awards will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. on Sunday, February 9. Keyaira Boone, Essence, "The Only Black Acting Nominee Cynthia Erivo Will Also Perform At The Oscars," 24 Jan. 2020 Tampon and pad brand Kotex will air an ad featuring a red substance that looks more like actual menstrual blood. Fortune, "Goldman Sachs introduces its own gender quota for IPOs," 24 Jan. 2020 Here's how: When: 7:04 p.m. Wednesday Where: KFC Yum Center (capacity 22,090) TV: Wednesday's game will air on Fox Sports South in Louisville, with Tom Werme on play-by-play with analyst Mike Gminski. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Your scouting report for Louisville basketball vs. Georgia Tech - and how to watch," 21 Jan. 2020 The live awards will air at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Grammys," 20 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

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Air.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 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).


to assert without proof or before proving

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