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 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
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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But both those in the air and on the ground were deeply shaken. Gillian Flaccus And David Zalubowski,, "Plane engine parts fall from sky, leaving passengers, Denver suburb shaken: ‘I thought we were going down’," 21 Feb. 2021 As far as the public was concerned, the status of David Krejci remained up in the air as the Bruins flew west Friday. Matt Porter,, "Jack Studnicka is ready to step in for Bruins if David Krejci is out Sunday," 19 Feb. 2021 The social network hosts a Climate Science Information Center, which will now feature a section debunking common myths about climate change, such as the impact of carbon dioxide in the air, the company said Thursday. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Facebook ramps up efforts to counter climate change misinformation," 19 Feb. 2021 Just as warming weather is luring more Minnesotans outdoors, there's something more than a chill in the air to be cautious about. Star Tribune Staff, Star Tribune, "Weekend air quality alert issued for east-central, southern Minnesota," 19 Feb. 2021 Baxter can still feel the embraces in the postgame locker room, can still picture Driesell thrusting his left fist triumphantly in the air. Childs Walker,, "Thirty five years later, Len Bias’ masterpiece in the Dean Dome remains his valedictory statement," 19 Feb. 2021 The birds respond best to houses on poles at about 16 feet in the air with lots of wide-open space for swooping into the house from the surrounding open areas. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "It still feels like winter in San Antonio, but purple martins are back," 19 Feb. 2021 What will happen in the fall is still up in the air and presumably dependent on vaccine availability, health and safety guidelines and labor agreements. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, "Confusion over S.F. public schools' fall return underscores parents' anxiety," 19 Feb. 2021 Every single person will be throwing their claws in the air for sure jamming to this '80s classic that never, ever gets old. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "44 Best Prom Songs That Need to Be Added To Your Playlist ASAP," 17 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Bruce Arians allowed his new QB to air it out this season, and the Bucs don’t take down Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers without Brady’s first-half brilliance in the NFC Championship game. Brian T. Smith, San Antonio Express-News, "Smith: We can root for Tom Brady now," 6 Feb. 2021 Mary Wilson will be part of a virtual town hall celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Supremes, to air the weekend of Feb. 26. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "SiriusXM to launch Aretha, Motown, Hendrix, Miles Davis channels for Black History Month," 1 Feb. 2021 Democrats in the General Assembly, too, took to the social media platform to air their grievances with the state's immunization rollout. Christen Smith, Washington Examiner, "Pennsylvania officials discourage vaccine tourism as distribution lags," 27 Jan. 2021 The occasion was Lobby Day, a recent tradition in Virginia, held annually on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, on which citizen groups come to the Capitol to directly air their concerns to their representatives in the State Legislature. New York Times, "How Armed Protests Are Creating a New Kind of Politics," 26 Jan. 2021 Still, Anna ensures that The Bachelor will air her damaging gossip campaign on national television at the end of the group date. Ariana Romero,, "The Bachelor Wasn’t Ready To Tackle Sex Work," 26 Jan. 2021 Originally, the show was supposed to air sometime in fall 2020, with Chris set to first appear as Stabler in SVU's season 22 premiere. Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "'Law and Order: SVU' Fans Go Wild Over Mariska Hargitay's Selfie With Chris Meloni on 'Organized Crime' Set," 26 Jan. 2021 Bud Light, another Anheuser-Busch brand, is still expected to air an ad during the game. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Budweiser becomes latest Super Bowl commercial stalwart to sit out this year's broadcast," 25 Jan. 2021 And while licensing rights for its soundtrack had kept Freaks and Geeks off streaming sites in the past, Hulu says the issues have now been resolved and the show will air with its original soundtrack intact. Tim Chan, Billboard, "'Freaks and Geeks' Now Streaming on Hulu With Original Soundtrack Intact," 21 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about air

Time Traveler for air

Time Traveler

The first known use of air was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for air

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Air.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!