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 Yet the happy reunion of the Arendelle royal family (which also includes Josh Gad’s still-naïve snowman Olaf and Jonathan Groff’s still-hot mountaineer Kristoff) didn’t materialize out of thin air; the setting has changed, and circumstances with it. Marc Snetiker,, "How to chase a storm: The cast and creators of Frozen 2 on making powerful art under pressure," 21 Nov. 2019 This allows the primates to move quickly through the forest canopy or snatch flying insects out of the air. National Geographic, "Bush babies," 19 Nov. 2019 Santa Claus and his reindeer will ride along on an open-air flat car. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: The suburban shopping mall isn’t going extinct, 10 things to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers and other things to know about to start your day," 28 Nov. 2019 At a temperature of -196°C, all of air’s component gases will liquefy. The Economist, "Electrical energy can be captured as liquid air," 28 Nov. 2019 The male birds named Benjamin and Franklin will live at Living History Farms in Urbandale, a 500-acre, open-air history museum that demonstrates three centuries of Iowa farm life. USA TODAY, "A subway Thanksgiving, too-high horse, gift wrap wars: News from around our 50 states," 27 Nov. 2019 The open-air coffee shop offers a large variety of their own brews, flavored lattes, and teas. Julia Sayers |, al, "Headed to Auburn for the big game? Here’s what else to do," 25 Nov. 2019 Emotions depended on the balance of those humors, which were influenced by age, gender, and environment, including diet, exercise, sleep, and the quality of the air. Fay Bound Alberti, Quartz, "The problem with medicalizing loneliness," 25 Nov. 2019 Much of the museum’s campus—a cluster of buildings interspersed with open-air courtyards—will be demolished early next year, to make way for a contiguous structure. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Beck Is Home," 25 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After this story first aired in August, things got even better for Quinn — light-years better. Steve Hartman, CBS News, "Cancer kept this 3-year-old indoors. Now he's seeing the world for himself," 29 Nov. 2019 The game, which is taking place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, will not be on network television but will instead air in real time on the Live Conference USA Facebook page. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "You won't need a TV remote to watch Louisville basketball take on Western Kentucky," 27 Nov. 2019 Instead of a new episode, a rerun of the Nov. 13 episode will air in The Masked Singer's usual time slot at 8 p.m. on Nov. 27. Martha Sorren, Woman's Day, "Why Isn't 'The Masked Singer' On This Week? It's Prepping For The Holidays," 26 Nov. 2019 The beloved animated special, which first aired in 1969, returns to the airwaves. Chuck Barney, Detroit Free Press, "TV highlights for the week of Nov. 24-30," 25 Nov. 2019 Earlier today it was announced that the Netflix/CBC series Anne With an E will end after season 3, which already aired in Canada and is expected to drop on Netflix in January. Omar Sanchez,, "Anne With an E creator Moira Walley-Beckett thanks fans after cancellation, teases possible 'finale feature film'," 25 Nov. 2019 Barba was a contestant in the sixth season of American Idol which aired in 2007, but was eliminated early in the competition after singing songs by Aerosmith and Celine Dion. Elizabeth Wolfe And Brian Ries, CNN, "A former 'American Idol' contestant was sentenced to 45 months in prison for possession of fentanyl," 22 Nov. 2019 No premiere date has been announced but the limited series will air in 2020. Essence, "Cast For Salt-N-Pepa Limited Series Announced," 8 Nov. 2019 Racing resumes Saturday with nine Cup races, topped by the $6 million Classic airing in prime time on NBC. Larry Stumes,, "Bay Area horse second to 45-1 shot in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile," 1 Nov. 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 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

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Air.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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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 constrict the range or activity of

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