breath·​er | \ ˈbrē-t͟hər How to pronounce breather (audio) \

Definition of breather

1 : one that breathes
2 : a break in activity for rest or relief
3 : a small vent in an otherwise airtight enclosure

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of breather in a Sentence

He decided to give them a breather. took a breather from the seemingly endless task of sorting through years of stuff stored in the attic

Recent Examples on the Web

Consumer companies declined Friday after U.S. retail-sales data showed American consumers reined in their spending in August, taking a breather after very strong sales growth in July. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, "Stocks Hang On to Weekly Gains," 14 Sep. 2018 HIGHLIGHTS Global Economy: The bullish sentiment that bolstered the oil market during the first three weeks of 2019 has largely taken a breather this week. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "U.S. Oil Prices Decline on Global Slowdown Fears," 23 Jan. 2019 By adding Paul, the Rockets corrected the Suns’ mistake, allowing an otherworldly but overworked ballhandler to steal breathers and eliminate listless possessions. Lee Jenkins,, "Space City: How Faith Fuels the Rockets' Explosive Offense," 1 May 2018 Oil prices have come off lows seen at the end of 2018, but their recent rally began to take a breather this week. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Oil Falls on Fresh Demand Worries," 22 Jan. 2019 Try putting your phone down, taking a breather, and meditating. Kelsey Castañon, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Acne — and How to Get Rid of It," 4 Dec. 2018 Middle infielders Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson get a breather for the Sox. Teddy Greenstein,, "White Sox rest Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson against Indians," 14 June 2018 Centeno said that under the deal, Greece could delay back repayment on billions in loans by 10 years, giving it a financial breather while stricter deadlines could have further choked the economy over the next decade. Washington Post, "Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece’s bailout," 21 June 2018 That will give Asuaje a breather and allow the rotation of as many as five outfielders to work. Kevin Acee,, "Padres notes: Myers back, Margot to follow; Villanueva HBP propensity; KT honored," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breather.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of breather

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about breather

Statistics for breather

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breather

The first known use of breather was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for breather



English Language Learners Definition of breather

: a pause for rest
: someone or something that breathes in a specified way


breath·​er | \ ˈbrē-t͟hər How to pronounce breather (audio) \

Kids Definition of breather

: a pause for rest


breath·​er | \ ˈbrē-t͟hər How to pronounce breather (audio) \

Medical Definition of breather

: one that breathes usually in a specified way — see mouth breather

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on breather

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breather

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breather

Spanish Central: Translation of breather

Nglish: Translation of breather for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breather for Arabic Speakers

Comments on breather

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!