air

1 of 2

noun

plural airs
1
a
: the mixture of invisible odorless tasteless gases (such as nitrogen and oxygen) that surrounds the earth
also : the equivalent mix of gases on another celestial object (such as a planet)
… the thin, frigid air of Mars. Stefano S. Coledan
b
: a light breeze
c
archaic : breath
2
a(1)
: aircraft
traveling by air
often used before another noun
air travel
(2)
: aviation
often used before another noun
air safety
air rights
(3)
: air force
often used before another noun
air headquarters
b(1)
: the medium of transmission of radio waves
also : radio, television
went on the air
(2)
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
10
airless adjective
airlessness noun

air

2 of 2

verb

aired; airing; airs

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
Phrases
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
Choose the Right Synonym for air

Noun

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

Verb

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate closer to the plumbing. Staff Reports, The Arizona Republic, 31 Mar. 2024 Especially at highway speeds, moving a trailer through the air takes more power than pulling its mass. Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN, 31 Mar. 2024 Love is always in the air inside the Brown household. Janine Rubenstein, Peoplemag, 31 Mar. 2024 While encouraging owners to bring their yachts to the Red Sea after the Mediterranean season winds down, the option to take to the air to make that jump is becoming a viable option. Kathleen Turner, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 The El Nino effect — which carries warm air from the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean across the U.S. — is largely to blame for the warmth. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 29 Mar. 2024 When a wave hits a small cavern at the bottom of the inlet, air and water are forced out, resulting in a sound much like a clap of thunder. Jacqueline Dole, Travel + Leisure, 29 Mar. 2024 These are the cities with the world’s worst air pollution All but one of the 100 cities with the world’s worst air pollution last year were in Asia, according to a new report. Alexandra Banner, CNN, 19 Mar. 2024 Egged on by the Inflation Reduction Act, companies are rushing to find more ways to take the carbon that comes out of the smokestacks of the world and put it somewhere other than the air. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 19 Mar. 2024
Verb
The View did not air a new episode on Friday — otherwise known to observers as Good Friday — because of the Easter holiday weekend, Entertainment Weekly has learned. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 29 Mar. 2024 Over two months of withering testimony and legal argument, Willis had intimate details of her private life publicly aired, her judgment and integrity questioned, and saw the most high-stakes prosecution of her career teeter on the brink of collapse because of an indiscretion in her personal life. Daniel Klaidman, CBS News, 29 Mar. 2024 Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show premieres March 29 on HBO (and Max), with subsequent episodes airing weekly. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 Ahead of the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards airing on FOX at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Ludacris caught up with PEOPLE about the hosting gig, his recent Super Bowl performance with Usher and Lil Jon, fatherhood and upcoming music. Jack Irvin, Peoplemag, 29 Mar. 2024 Or the time when Laura’s mother, Diane Ladd, called Bruce Dern to placate a distraught Laura after seeing her father murdered in a movie airing on TV. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2024 But the bigger scandal here, in the eyes of many fans, is that this pivotal scene didn’t air on RHOBH — the show that made both Richards and Umansky reality TV household names. Louis Staples, Rolling Stone, 28 Mar. 2024 Padres Just before first home game, Padres announce cable, satellite, streaming options March 27, 2024 TV Padres TV, the channel airing Padres games, is now available on AT&T U-verse (Channel 781 or 1781), Cox (Channel 83), Spectrum (Channel 305 or 443) and DirecTV (Channel 694-3). Carlos Rico, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Mar. 2024 The first episode premiered March 18, and the fourth — and then-final — episode aired March 22. Brooke Baitinger, Sacramento Bee, 27 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'air.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near air

Cite this Entry

“Air.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/air. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

air

1 of 2 noun
ˈa(ə)r How to pronounce air (audio)
ˈe(ə)r
1
a
: the invisible mixture of odorless tasteless gases (as nitrogen and oxygen) that surrounds the earth
b
: a light breeze
2
: the state of being empty or nothing
usually used in the phrase into thin air
vanished into thin air
3
4
a
: outward appearance
an air of mystery
b
plural : an artificial way of acting
put on airs
5
: compressed air
put air in a tire
6
a
: aircraft
travel by air
b
: aviation
air safety
7
a
: the substance through which radio waves travel
b
: a radio or television broadcast
went on the air
8
: an air-conditioning system
turn on the air
9
: the height achieved in performing a maneuver in the air
a snowboarder catching big air

air

2 of 2 verb
1
: to place in the air for cooling, freshening, or cleaning
air blankets
2
: to make known in public
air one's complaints
3
: to broadcast on radio or television

Medical Definition

: 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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