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 Pa Her Yang was in the hospital, struggling to breathe, her kidneys failing and her oxygen levels dangerously low. Sarah Volpenhein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hmong refugee settled in Milwaukee, devoting her life to her husband and 10 children. Now, they're facing Mother's Day without her.," 8 May 2021 The next day, the girl told Arora that her father had died and that now her mother was struggling to breathe. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "Inside India’s COVID-19 Surge," 4 May 2021 She's been on the floor of the hospital for four days, struggling to breathe. , Elizabeth Joseph And Tanya Jain, CNN, "The Covid-19 hospital in India so bad patients want to get out," 3 May 2021 The men to his sides were screaming for help and struggling to breathe. New York Times, "Deadly Stampede at Israeli Religious Festival Followed Years of Warnings," 30 Apr. 2021 Half a dozen gurneys were scattered on the hospital grounds in front of the Covid-19 ward, with people struggling to breathe. WSJ, "India’s Covid Surge Is Most Ferocious Yet. ‘Spreading Like Wildfire.’," 25 Apr. 2021 India put oxygen tankers on special express trains as major hospitals in New Delhi begged on social media on Friday for more supplies to save COVID-19 patients who are struggling to breathe. Kaanita Iyer, USA TODAY, "Some states are turning down vaccine doses; feds have 'full confidence' J&J vaccine benefits outweigh risks. Latest COVID-19 updates," 24 Apr. 2021 They have even been joined by hospitals themselves, with a major chain in the capital New Delhi on Friday begging for more supplies on Twitter to save growing crowds of patients who are struggling to breathe. NBC News, "In India's Covid crisis, the world's worst, a family's traumatic quest for help," 23 Apr. 2021 Just a few months ago, California was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. Hospitals in Los Angeles were drowning in patients, and ambulances were idling outside with people struggling to breathe, waiting for beds to open. Fox News, "California coronavirus infections go from worst to first," 23 Apr. 2021

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breathe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breathe. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for breathe

breathe

verb

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

Comments on breathe

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