breath·tak·ing | \ ˈbreth-ˌtā-kiŋ \

Definition of breathtaking 

1 : causing one to breathe rapidly or with difficulty : making one out of breath a breathtaking pain in her side

2a : exciting, thrilling a breathtaking race

b : very great : astonishing his breathtaking ignorance

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Other words from breathtaking

breathtakingly \ˈbreth-ˌtā-kiŋ-lē \ adverb

Examples of breathtaking in a Sentence

The train raced past with breathtaking speed. They gave a breathtaking performance. The view of the mountains was breathtaking. a scene of breathtaking beauty The scope of the error is breathtaking.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The dancers—who ranged in age from young children to adults—took the stage to show off their breathtaking display of gymnastic abilities. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Watch the Incredible Performance on 'America's Got Talent' That Earned a Golden Buzzer," 30 May 2018 In a breathtaking display of bad timing, a team that shot the most 3-pointers in NBA history had their worst shooting night of the season. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The Warriors and Cavs Will Meet Again. Here’s Why This Time Is Different," 29 May 2018 But for the rest of us, this was arguably the most savage home run ever hit—a breathtaking display of violence, like watching a freight train slam into a car on the tracks. Staff,, "Nine Innings: The Cubs' Issue With Launch Angle, Reimagining Bullpen Roles and Jonny Venters's Painful Journey," 30 Apr. 2018 The student walkouts that took place across the country today were a breathtaking display of activism for González, her fellow survivors, and other student crusaders. Liz Brody, Glamour, "Two Columbine Survivors on Life After a Mass Shooting, and Being at the Lead of 'The Columbine Generation'," 15 Mar. 2018 The most breathtaking, Il Borro Toscana, encompasses an ancient village transformed by the Ferragamo family and managed by the 10-star Relais & Chateux group. Catherine Bigelow,, "Summer’s R&R hot spots from SF’s social set," 10 July 2018 Her death, from leukemia in 1995, came to define much of his work in recent years, in poems that featured a forthrightness that was often heart-rending, and very frequently breathtaking, in its evocation of grief. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Donald Hall, former U.S. poet laureate who wrote of nature and loss, dies at 89," 24 June 2018 The animation is breathtaking, though not in a high-tech way. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Review: Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' weird, wonderful, insightful," 27 Mar. 2018 At Paddy's, on Broadway, MSM students gather near the skee ball alley for breathtaking, informal late-night sessions. Joshua David Stein, Esquire, "Jazz, Jam Sessions, and the Best of After-Hours Harlem," 18 Sep. 2015

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

1877, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for breathtaking

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for breathtaking

The first known use of breathtaking was in 1877

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More Definitions for breathtaking



English Language Learners Definition of breathtaking

: very exciting

: very great or surprising


breath·tak·ing | \ ˈbreth-ˌtā-kiŋ \

Kids Definition of breathtaking

: very exciting or beautiful

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Comments on breathtaking

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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