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 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 Two guests had hitched a ride from Tarija, a department in the south, on an air-force jet. The Economist, "In limbo Bolivia needs an election, but covid-19 makes that hard," 16 May 2020 He is then scheduled to have remarks air during a prime time special for high-school graduates that starts at 8 p.m. Eastern on all the major television networks. New York Times, "Coronavirus Live Updates: States Reopen With Outbreak Control ‘Right on the Edge’," 16 May 2020 Actually, the two individuals that helped me work on that script — and are thanked in the credits of that movie — were my friends who had no TV shows on the air at the time: Julie Plec and Ryan Murphy. Sarah Rodman,, "Hero's journey: Greg Berlanti on his two decades of LGBTQ inclusion," 16 May 2020 The fire, which sent a cloud of flames and thick black smoke into the air, may have been sparked by a lightning strike, according to initial National Weather Service reports. NBC News, "Massive fire at condominium complex on South Padre Island, Texas," 16 May 2020 Masks and other precautions are not entirely effective, and air gaps in masks have particularly been shown to be a gateway to infection, Brinton said. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "You can catch coronavirus through your eyes. A virologist fears that's how he got it.," 15 May 2020 Growing numbers of shippers are moving to the core element of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the WSJ’s Trefor Moss reports, as rising prices and disruptions in ocean and air transport have companies turning to trains. WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Setting New Driving Hours; FedEx’s Retail Limits; Freight Trains from China," 15 May 2020 Air The New England Journal of Medicine study found that under optimal conditions, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can live in the air for up to three hours. Dallas News, "How long can the coronavirus live on various surfaces? Curious Texas investigates," 15 May 2020 In the weeks leading up to the series’ debut last month, Jordan took notes on every episode, offering director Jason Hehir feedback on which moments and games deserved more air time. Connor Letourneau,, "Young Warriors relish learning about Michael Jordan, ‘the one who changed the game’," 15 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some daytime soaps have turned to repackaging classic episodes to give the re-airing a special feel., "TV during the COVID-19 crisis: What are we watching?," 8 May 2020 Very Cavallari did not detail the divorce, as the final episode of season 3 aired on 19th March 2020. Kaitlin Reilly,, "Fans Are Defending Jay Cutler After New Kristin Cavallari Report Emerges," 7 May 2020 Bryant's cameo was especially heartbreaking as the episode aired nearly four months after his tragic death., "Kobe Bryant Praises 'Big Brother' Michael Jordan in The Last Dance Appearance," 3 May 2020 And, for anyone that forgot about the program in the 13 years since the last new episode aired, Reba herself is here to remind you. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, "Reba McEntire Shared a Nostalgic Throwback From Her ‘Reba’ Days and Now We're Ready for a Show Reunion," 3 May 2020 Still, Rashad was roasted by other sports journalists after the interview aired. Los Angeles Times, "‘Mike, can you take off the sunglasses?’ Inside Jordan’s infamous gambling interview," 3 May 2020 Roughly three days after the special aired live, Weber and Prewett broke up. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan Just Responded to Everyone Hating on Their Relationship," 1 May 2020 Shortly after the briefing aired, a video circulated: a close-up of Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, seated near the president, stony-faced. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Trump Is Building a Dystopia in Real Time," 24 Apr. 2020 Hosted by Nick Cannon, After the Mask will air after The Masked Singer and talk about the episode’s best moments. Alicia Kortendick, al, "‘The Masked Singer: After the Mask’ premiere: How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time," 22 Apr. 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

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Air.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 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

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