\ 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 Larry, whom his son describes as more of a dreamer than Mel, could have suffered the same personal fate as Mel, who went from World Series games to football games and back to the New York to record sports newsreels, never stopping to take a breath. Stephen Borelli, USA TODAY, "Brotherly love for a Yankees icon: Remembering Larry Allen," 2 July 2020 Rather than seeing a setback, Manders and his team recognized it as a chance to catch their breath and hone in on a few improvements for current and future staff. Dallas News, "How 4 North Texas companies have achieved their new normal during COVID-19," 29 June 2020 Then the doctors had an insight: shortness of breath, chest pain and rapid heart rate are also signs of a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that lodges in the arteries of the lungs. Monique Brouillette, Scientific American, "Hospitals Experiment with COVID-19 Treatments, Balancing Hope and Evidence," 29 June 2020 When seven seconds is up, release that breath, slowly through your mouth, over eight seconds. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "The Good Stuff: An octogenarian stays connected, a diabetic pilot returns to the skies and a baby emu wobbles," 27 June 2020 Ban law enforcement from using holds that inhibit a person’s ability to breath, including but not limited to choke holds. oregonlive, "Police, coronavirus and taxes: Read the proposals Oregon lawmakers are considering for Wednesday special session," 20 June 2020 So part of the work is asking in a variety of small and big ways for individual people to think differently, to take a breath, to use a new term, to push past some awkwardness. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "‘It’s been a long journey.’ Google CEO Sundar Pichai on new, widespread commitments to racial equity," 18 June 2020 Agitated, almost unable to catch his breath, Izidor got up and went outside. Melissa Fay Greene, The Atlantic, "Can an Unloved Child Learn to Love?," 18 June 2020 On her worst night, Anna couldn’t catch her breath and was consumed by continuous coughing fits. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "For a former foster youth affected by coronavirus, there's no safety net," 17 June 2020

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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for breath


How to pronounce breath (audio)

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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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

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