noun, often attributive
\ ˈer \

Definition of air 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a archaic : breath

b : 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

c : a light breeze

2a : empty space

b : nothingness vanished into thin air

c old-fashioned : a sudden severance of relations She gave me the air.

3 [ probably translation of Italian aria ]

a : tune, melody a lilting air

b Elizabethan & Jacobean music : an accompanied song or melody in usually strophic form

c : the chief voice part or melody in choral music

4a : 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

5 : public utterance He gave air to his opinion.

7a(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

8 : a football offense utilizing primarily the forward pass Trailing by 20 points, the team took to the air.

9 : an air-conditioning system a house with central air

10 : 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

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Other words from air


airless \-ləs \ adjective
airlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for air

Synonyms: Noun

act, charade, disguise, facade (also façade), front, guise, masquerade, playacting, pose, pretense (or pretence), put-on, semblance, show

Synonyms: Verb

expound, express, give, look, raise, sound, state, vent, ventilate, voice

Antonyms: Verb

stifle, suppress

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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


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.


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

But air strikes alone would probably not be enough to defeat the group. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 The stadium, which locals joke resembles an air filter from an old Lada car, is surrounded by water from two sides. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Peeking Around Corners in the World Cup’s Provincial Cities," 14 July 2018 Padded straps help too, and so does built-in ventilation: look for air channels between the padding and mesh on the straps and back panel (all help alleviate sweat buildup). Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 An air compressor was reported taken from an unlocked work van in the 200 block of East Wilson Street between 7 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. July 6. Graydon Megan,, "Elmhurst police blotter: Boy playing Pokemon Go in Wilder Park had sword, two knives," 13 July 2018 Weaknesses: The quarterback position is up in the air and a replacement for starter Josh Rosen most likely won’t be decided until preseason camp. Matt Murschel,, "New coach Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins are No. 45 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 13 July 2018 The penultimate episode of the show’s first season is set to air on Sunday. NBC News, "FX renews Ryan Murphy's 'Pose' for season 2," 13 July 2018 Oils, in particular, have occlusive properties, which literally create a barrier between skin and the air—anything applied on top of them is basically done in vain. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, SELF, "The 9 Best Skin-Care Tips I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Being a Beauty Editor," 13 July 2018 By this time most of our clothes had picked up dust from the dirt roads around camp but De’Shaun came dusted in the kind of dull ache that stained the air around you. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Demand Justice is already airing ads in Maine and Alaska, targeting Sens. NBC News, "Progressive group launches ad campaign urging Democrats to oppose Kavanaugh," 13 July 2018 Live coverage of the playoffs is already airing on the Disney XD channel; ESPN will show the finals live starting July 27, with a second day planned on Disney XD and ESPN3. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Uber’s head of HR resigns after accusations of mishandling racial discrimination," 12 July 2018 Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative advocacy group, has already posted a website — — and is airing television ads. New York Times, "Senate Democrats Come Out Swinging in Long-Shot Fight to Block Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 The group is already airing ads pressing Collins and Murkowski to oppose Trump's nominee. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Pricey ad wars launched in fight over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to Supreme Court," 10 July 2018 And only Calley and Hines have begun television ad campaigns in the Detroit media market, although a super PAC formed to support Schuette's candidacy has been airing ads in metro Detroit. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Why Democratic candidates for Michigan governor want Detroit votes," 5 July 2018 FLCL Alternative will start airing September 6th on Adult Swim, and will run for six episodes. Michael Moore, The Verge, "Eight new anime shows to check out this summer," 29 June 2018 Just one day earlier, the network finalized a deal to start airing WWE’s Smackdown Live every Friday starting in 2019. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Gordon Ramsay’s ’24 Hours to Hell and Back’ Renewed at Fox," 27 June 2018 That’s frustrating for employers, since the games are airing in the middle of workday along the east coast, a by-product of the time change from Russia. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Here's Your Defense When the Boss Catches You Watching the World Cup at Work," 27 June 2018

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 1b


1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for air


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


see air entry 1

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Learn More about air

Dictionary Entries near air







air alert

Statistics for air

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for air

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

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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 \

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 \

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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Comments on air

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a magnificent or impressive array

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