\ ˈbreth How to pronounce breath (audio) \

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
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 In his first game for the Lakers in more than two months, on a breath-holding Thursday in Dallas, Davis missed his first five flings, finished with but two baskets in 10 attempts and played only 17 minutes. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: With Anthony Davis on his feet, Lakers are in good standing," 23 Apr. 2021 It was used to treat a wide range of conditions including jaundice, menstrual pain, anemia, and bad breath. John Debary, Bon Appétit, "WTF Is Absinthe Anyway?," 23 Apr. 2021 But Plokhy doesn’t allow his readers that same deep breath — far from it., "‘Nuclear Folly’ recalls when we edged close to the brink," 22 Apr. 2021 As the video played, one juror drew in a sharp breath. Eric Ferkenhoff, USA TODAY, "These are some of the key moments leading up to the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict in George Floyd's death," 21 Apr. 2021 The video of Floyd’s breath leaving his body, while Chauvin looked unmoved, went viral. Cori Murray, Essence, "ESSENCE Unveils First-Ever Quilt Artwork Cover Marking 'The Year That Changed The World'," 21 Apr. 2021 Jones refused to provide a breath sample and police obtained a warrant for a blood draw that showed a blood alcohol content of 0.19% — more than twice the 0.08% limit at which someone can be convicted of drunken driving, according to the reports. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "State lawmaker told arresting troopers he would call Whitmer, according to police report," 21 Apr. 2021 Covid-19 tests aren't required -- except for UK visitors, until April 27 -- but Dominican Republic authorities will give breath tests to a small percentage of random passengers plus anyone showing symptoms. CNN, "Find out which countries are welcoming international tourists back," 21 Apr. 2021 Holding our breath' Tatem, who leads the East Valley chapter of the NAACP, has had the same conversations with his grown children that most African Americans have about interactions with police. John D'anna, The Arizona Republic, "'The trauma is real': As Chauvin verdict is read, Arizonans touched by violence see hope, but not enough yet," 21 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for breath

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breath

Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce breath (audio) \

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 How to pronounce breath (audio) \

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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