\ˈbreth \

Definition of breath 

1a : air filled with a fragrance or odor

b : a slight indication : suggestion the faintest breath of scandal

2a : the faculty of breathing recovering his breath after the race

b : an act of breathing fought to the last breath

c : opportunity or time to breathe : respite

3 : a slight breeze

4a : air inhaled and exhaled in breathing bad breath

b : something (such as moisture on a cold surface) produced by breath or breathing

c : inhalation

5 : a spoken sound : utterance

breath of fresh air

: a welcome or refreshing change

in one breath or in the same breath

: almost simultaneously

out of breath

: breathing very rapidly (as from strenuous exercise)

under one's breath

: so as to be barely audible mumbled something under his breath

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Examples of breath in a Sentence

When Oscar Wilde allegedly gestured at the garish wallpaper in his cheap Parisian hotel room and announced with his dying breath, "Either it goes or I go," he was exhibiting something beyond an irrepressibly brilliant wit. — Tom Robbins, Harper's, September 2004 I ski as far as I can and stop (in these relatively low-altitude coastal mountains, you don't stop for breath the way you sometimes do in Colorado; here you stop when your legs demand a break) … — Lito Tejada-Flores, Skiing, February 1999 gum that freshens your breath It's so cold outside that I can see my breath. My mad dash for the bus left me gasping for breath. I took a long breath before speaking again.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The whole campaign ended with a chance to pause and take a breath, a staff pizza party (in which staff could cast votes, of course). Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Behind the scenes of the quick-moving campaign to get Jesús Aguilar into the All-Star Game," 12 July 2018 The verdict from those assembled online, watching him try to catch his breath, was swift and merciless: Jay-Z, at 48, was washed. Zach Baron, GQ, "In Praise of Being Washed," 2 July 2018 Instead of rolling your eyes and cursing under your breath, offer to help, particularly if the luggage wrangler in question is too short to reach the overhead bin, has difficulty hoisting weight above her head, or is a senior citizen. Christopher Muther,, "Six ways we can all be more civil and helpful to each other on planes," 26 June 2018 Heading back into Topeka on evenings after trips west, as her Hyundai tops the hill just outside of town on Interstate 70, Mott always catches her breath at the sight of the city’s lights. Steve Wieberg, kansascity, "‘There’s No Place Like Home’ finds signs of quiet progress for Kansas’ LGBT citizens," 20 June 2018 This isn’t the beautiful machine of a few years back, when the passing took your breath away. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty's Morning Line: You can't make the MLB Draft fun and Allegiant Air sucks," 4 June 2018 Cursing under her breath, Lauryn hurried across the street, dodging cars and hopping over the frozen puddles. Wesley Snipes, The Root, "Talon of God," 27 May 2018 While lung function predictably reduced from the screaming and general upheaval, so did the feeling of shortness of breath. Richard Stephens, Smithsonian, "The History and Psychology of Roller Coasters," 12 July 2018 Zoey took her last breath almost exactly two years after she was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), the family said. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Tragic photo shows parents comforting daughter, 5, hours before her death," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breath.' 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 breath

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for breath

Middle English breth, from Old English brǣth; akin to Old High German brādam breath, and perhaps to Old English beorma yeast — more at barm

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Statistics for breath

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breath

The first known use of breath was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for breath



English Language Learners Definition of breath

: the air that you take into your lungs and send out from your lungs when you breathe : air that is inhaled and exhaled in breathing

: the ability to breathe freely

: an amount of air that you take into your lungs


\ˈbreth \

Kids Definition of breath

1 : ability to breathe : ease of breathing I lost my breath for a moment.

2 : air taken in or sent out by the lungs Hold your breath. It's so cold I can see my breath.

3 : a slight breeze a breath of wind

out of breath

: breathing very rapidly as a result of hard exercise

under someone's breath

: very quietly “Don't blow this for me,” Dad said under his breath.— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control


\ˈbreth \

Medical Definition of breath 

1a : the faculty of breathing recovering her breath after the race

b : an act or an instance of breathing or inhaling

2a : air inhaled and exhaled in breathing bad breath

b : something (as moisture on a cold surface) produced by breath or breathing

out of breath

: breathing very rapidly (as from strenuous exercise)

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More from Merriam-Webster on breath

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breath

Spanish Central: Translation of breath

Nglish: Translation of breath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breath for Arabic Speakers

Comments on breath

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playful or foolish behavior

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