\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

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 Her daughters and husband held her hand from the moment of diagnosis up until her last breath. Hartford Courant,, "Ethel J. Debonis," 8 July 2018 His shirt clung sopping to his back, and with each gust he was nearly robbed of breath. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 The stat in the Fact Checker post that really took my breath away was this: In his campaign rally for Rep. Marsha Blackburn's Tennessee Senate campaign on Tuesday night, Trump said 35 things that weren't true. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Donald Trump said 35 things that weren't true in his Nashville rally. 35!," 1 June 2018 Too many took their last breaths on Everest, never to return home. National Geographic, "From the Photo Archive: 65 Years of Epic Everest Climbs," 31 May 2018 The condition, caused by allergens, takes her breath away — literally. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Lung disease leaves this 70-year-old breathless, but it won’t keep her out of the Gold Nugget Triathlon," 19 May 2018 And now the star was falling. *** Rob took his last breath less than 24 hours after being taken off life support. Janice Gary, Longreads, "Bang and Vanish," 18 Apr. 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

12 Oct 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

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


not any or not one

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