breathe

verb
\ ˈbrēt͟h How to pronounce breathe (audio) \
breathed; breathing

Definition of breathe

intransitive verb

1a : 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
6a : 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
8a : to become perceptible : be expressed a personality that breathes and that distinguishes his work— Bennett Schiff
b obsolete : to emit a fragrance or aura

transitive verb

1 : to inhale and exhale breathe air
2a : 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
4a : 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
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)

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Synonyms for breathe

Synonyms

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web Wong lives and breathes politics – even in his choice of video game. The Economist, "Gaming with Joshua Wong," 22 May 2020 Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has flooded hospitals worldwide with patients struggling to breathe. Shirley Zhao, Bloomberg.com, "Ventilator Tycoon Adds $3.7 Billion to Wealth on Demand Rush," 10 May 2020 If a Covid-19 patient is clearly struggling to breathe, then invasive ventilation makes sense, wrote Marcus Schultz of Amsterdam University Medical Centers and his colleagues. Sharon Begley, STAT, "New analysis recommends less reliance on ventilators to treat coronavirus patients," 21 Apr. 2020 From afar, a rhino looks a bit like a living, breathing tank, oblivious to the smaller critters around it. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Psst! The poachers are coming.’ How tiny birds tip off rhinos.," 14 Apr. 2020 About a week ago, Crumpacker recalled singing to an infected resident struggling to breathe. oregonlive, "10 residents from Southeast Portland nursing home dead from coronavirus, employees say," 11 Apr. 2020 Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has flooded hospitals worldwide with patients struggling to breathe. Fortune, "Singapore’s richest man—a ventilator tycoon—has grown $3.7 billion richer amid coronavirus demand boom," 3 Apr. 2020 Only the subset which has difficulty breathing should. Arunabh Saikia, Quartz India, "Community participation—not lockdowns—is key to fighting coronavirus in India," 23 Mar. 2020 There was no break, no let up, just a procession of COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'You can see the fear written all over them': Two Milwaukee-based respiratory therapists talk about what it's like on the front lines," 1 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breathe.' 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 breathe

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

History and Etymology for breathe

Middle English brethen, from breth — see breath

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Time Traveler for breathe

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breathe

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breathe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breathe. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for breathe

breathe

verb
How to pronounce breathe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of breathe

: to move air into and out of your lungs : to inhale and exhale
: to send (something) out from your lungs through your mouth or nose
: to take (something) into your lungs through your mouth or nose

breathe

verb
\ ˈbrēt͟h How to pronounce breathe (audio) \
breathed; breathing

Kids Definition of breathe

1 : to draw air into and expel it from the lungs
2 : to take in by inhaling … Esperanza would take Mama's hands … and breathe in the fresh smell.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising
3 : live entry 1 sense 1 He still breathes.
4 : say entry 1 sense 1, utter Don't breathe a word of this.

breathe

verb
\ ˈbrēt͟h How to pronounce breathe (audio) \
breathed; breathing

Medical Definition of breathe

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on breathe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breathe

Spanish Central: Translation of breathe

Nglish: Translation of breathe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breathe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on breathe

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