breathe

verb

breathed; breathing

intransitive verb

1
a
: to draw air into and expel it from the lungs : respire
broadly : to take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through natural processes
b
: to inhale and exhale freely
2
: to blow softly
3
: live
4
: to pause and rest before continuing
5
: to feel free of restraint
needs room to breathe
6
a
: to permit passage of air or vapor
a fabric that breathes
b
of an internal combustion engine : to use air to support combustion
c
: to be cooled or dried by air that passes by or through
clothing that allows your skin to breathe
7
of wine : to develop flavor and bouquet by exposure to air
8
a
: to become perceptible : be expressed
a personality that breathes and that distinguishes his workBennett Schiff
b
obsolete : to emit a fragrance or aura

transitive verb

1
: to inhale and exhale
breathe air
2
a
: to send out by exhaling
b
: to instill by or as if by breathing
breathe new life into the movement
3
: to take in in breathing
breathe the scent of pines
4
a
: utter, express
don't breathe a word of it to anyone
b
: to make manifest : evince
the novel breathes despair
5
: to give rest from exertion to
6
: to spend a great deal of time, thought, or effort on (something) : to be wholly devoted to (some interest or activity)
The Virginia native may not breathe basketball 24-7 … but during games and practice, his focus is second to none.Robbi Pickeral
As with visiting companies, one of the key reasons for going to conferences is to avoid the tunnel vision that can overcome managers who live and breathe their business.Leslie Brokaw
Phrases
breathe down one's neck
1
: to threaten especially in attack or pursuit
2
: to keep one under close or constant surveillance
parents always breathing down his neck
breathe easy or breathe easier or breathe easily or breathe freely
: to enjoy relief (as from pressure or danger)

Examples of breathe in a Sentence

No one was more grief-stricken by Lincoln's assassination than Stanton, who spoke the imperishable words as the president breathed his last: "Now he belongs to the ages." James M. McPherson, New York Times Book Review, 6 Nov. 2005
… The tinder burned all right, but that was as far as I got. I blew on it, I breathed on it, I cupped it in my hands, but no sooner did I add twigs than the whole thing went black. Jean Craighead George, My Side of the Mountain, (1959) 2001
However, liquid nitrogen is not used for higher levels of fog because breathing this substance is unsafe. Dry ice is a safer material, and can be used either at ground level or higher. Patricia D. Netzley, Encylopedia Of Movie Special Effects, 2000
Earth is surrounded by a life-giving gaseous envelope called the atmosphere. This thin blanket of air is an integral part of the planet. It not only provides the air that we breathe but also acts to protect us from the dangerous radiation emitted by the Sun. Frederick K. Lutgens et al., The Atmosphere, 1979/2001
He was breathing hard from running. The patient suddenly stopped breathing. I can hardly breathe with all this smoke. He wants to live where he can breathe clean air. a dragon that breathes fire People usually contract the virus by breathing contaminated air. Breathe deeply and then exhale. I'll never give up as long as I'm still breathing. a living, breathing human being
Recent Examples on the Web Swapping fluffy slippers for cushy slides is a nice way to let your feet breathe in the summer. Jessica Kasparian, SELF, 16 July 2024 Long covid can include a wide range of symptoms — including fatigue, brain fog, post-exertional malaise, coughing, fever and difficulty breathing. Ian McMahan, Washington Post, 15 July 2024 To live on Mars, humans will need liquid water, food, shelter and an atmosphere with enough oxygen to breathe and thick enough to retain heat and protect against radiation from the Sun. Sven Bilén, The Conversation, 15 July 2024 There's safety concerns about people breathing too much of that stuff. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 14 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for breathe 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'breathe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English brethen, from breth — see breath

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of breathe was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near breathe

Cite this Entry

“Breathe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breathe. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

breathe

verb
breathed; breathing
1
: to draw air into and expel it from the lungs
2
3
: to blow softly
4
: to send out by exhaling
breathe a sigh of relief
5
: to bring by or as if by breathing
breathe new life into the movement
6
: to say quietly or softly
don't breathe a word to anybody
7
: to allow to rest after hard work
breathe a horse
8
: to take in in breathing
breathe the scent of roses
9
: to allow air or moisture to pass through
a fabric that breathes
breathable
ˈbrē-t͟hə-bəl
adjective

Medical Definition

breathe

verb
breathed; breathing

intransitive verb

1
: to draw air into and expel it from the lungs : respire
broadly : to take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through natural processes
2
: to inhale and exhale freely

transitive verb

: to inhale and exhale
breathing fresh air

More from Merriam-Webster on breathe

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