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

No matter what, a massive gust of fresh air is blowing through the international sport. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Let voters decide! Why Beckham group's soccer stadium plan deserves to be on ballot," 9 July 2018 By that time the air will be pleasantly funky-citrus tinged, mingling with your sweat and the musty warm smell of your apartment. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "The Perfect Candle for Those Trying to Enjoy the Heat Wave," 6 July 2018 But Carter had run out of air and died of smoke and soot inhalation. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 The Socrates Sculpture Park, right on the water, is an eccentric open-air museum and park where artists create sculptural works in an outdoor studio. New York Times, "Things to Do in NYC: Astoria for a Pool Day, and Open-Mic Night Plus Dumplings in Chinatown," 12 July 2018 Get a taste of local life by browsing Dolac Market, a colorful, open-air fruit and vegetable market in the heart of the city. Katarina Kovac, Vogue, "Where to Go in Croatia’s Capital City of Zagreb," 11 July 2018 Thrown from a raft in the Grand Canyon’s Lava Falls, he was trapped underwater and out of air. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Moments That Changed Us," 11 July 2018 The Fire Within, Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay The Ritz-Carlton’s open-air Ocean Terrace features firepits and sunset serenades from a local bagpiper. Jeanne Cooper,, "Where to watch the sunset with a cocktail around Half Moon Bay," 11 July 2018 Streams of warm, wet air from the east have created local moisture levels never seen this early in July. Robert Krier,, "Steamy weather might include thunderstorms," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Baldwin's campaign also has aired TV ads in the Green Bay, Wausau, Eau Claire and La Crosse markets. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tammy Baldwin makes outstate push appearing alongside Bernie Sanders at Eau Claire rally," 14 July 2018 Chopped Grill Masters Tournament will air on the Food Network from July 31 to Aug. 28 9 p.m. EST/ 8 p.m CST. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "Kingwood resident to appear on Food Network’s “Chopped Grill Masters” next month," 13 July 2018 The show will air on a major cable network and all couples will be paid for their participation. Melissa Reinert,, "Temptation Island reboot searching for Kentucky couple," 13 July 2018 The three previous installments will air again immediately before Sunday’s premiere. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘The Pacific War in Color: The Enemy Underground’ Review: War, Vividly Rendered," 12 July 2018 Walt Disney will air the playoffs and finals of the Overwatch League on ESPN and other networks under a multiyear deal with Activision Blizzard Inc. that underscores the growing popularity of professional video-game competition. Christopher Palmeri,, "ESPN to air Overwatch League finals as esports go prime time," 12 July 2018 The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 17 on NBC. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Game of Thrones' Lannisters Ruled Over the 2018 Emmy Nominations With an Iron Fist," 12 July 2018 The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Michael Che and Colin Jost, will air live on NBC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 17. Tom Gilatto,, "Emmy Nominations 2018: PEOPLE's Critic Breaks Down All the Nods — and Predicts Some Winners," 12 July 2018 The strike began as a protest against rising petrol prices, but thousands of Brazilians have supported the drivers by taking to the streets and blocking motorways to air a wide range of grievances. The Economist, "Politics this week," 31 May 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

4 Nov 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

What made you want to look up air? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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