\ 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 Brass and woodwinds would have presented a bigger challenge, since players can’t wear masks and the very breath that powers their instruments represents a hazard. al, "‘Music can go places words cannot:’ Mobile Symphony takes the stage," 19 Oct. 2020 All had gotten Covid and weeks later were suffering from new and perplexing symptoms, such as extreme fatigue, shortness of breath or memory fog. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "These Doctors Have Long-Term Covid. Now They’re Pushing for Better Care.," 19 Oct. 2020 Whether this means that the virus simply moves through the air on a human breath more easily, or whether certain individuals simply shed more virus without showing symptoms, is not fully understood. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Surge in COVID-19 outbreaks signals drop in public precautions," 18 Oct. 2020 According to the report, Yurachek agreed to give a breath sample and produced a final reading of 0.178 on the blood alcohol count. Tom Murphy, Arkansas Online, "LB Jake Yurachek arrested for DWI," 18 Oct. 2020 So this is what Buddy the elf’s breath tastes like. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "Trader Joe’s Reviews Are Back: The Good, the Meh, and the Puffy," 14 Oct. 2020 No more waiting with bated breath — Amazon Prime Day 2020 is finally here. Sarah Han, Allure, "29 Beauty Essentials to Stock Up on During Amazon Prime Day," 13 Oct. 2020 Aggressive innovation remained a punching bag for conservatives, but arguing back was hardly worth the breath. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Philip Guston and the Boundaries of Art Culture," 12 Oct. 2020 Even now, my breath catches at the thought of those introductory Dallas triptychs. Laurence Scott, Wired, "How We Came to Live in a Split-Screen Reality," 11 Oct. 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

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 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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Comments on breath

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