breathe

verb \ ˈbrēt͟h \
|Updated on: 8 Jul 2018

Definition of breathe

breathed; breathing
1 a : 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
6 a : 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
8 a : to become perceptible : be expressed
  • a personality that breathes and that distinguishes his work
  • —Bennett Schiff
b obsolete : to emit a fragrance or aura
1 : to inhale and exhale
  • breathe air
2 a : 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
4 a : 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)

Examples of breathe in a Sentence

  1. 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. McPhersonNew York Times Book Review6 Nov. 2005
  2. … 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 GeorgeMy Side of the Mountain(1959) 2001
  3. 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. NetzleyEncylopedia Of Movie Special Effects2000
  4. 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 Atmosphere1979/2001
  5. He was breathing hard from running.

  6. The patient suddenly stopped breathing.

  7. I can hardly breathe with all this smoke.

  8. He wants to live where he can breathe clean air.

  9. a dragon that breathes fire

  10. People usually contract the virus by breathing contaminated air.

  11. Breathe deeply and then exhale.

  12. I'll never give up as long as I'm still breathing.

  13. a living, breathing human being

Recent Examples of breathe from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of breathe

Middle English brethen, from breth — see breath



BREATHE Defined for English Language Learners

breathe

Definition of breathe for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

breathe

verb \ ˈbrēt͟h \

Definition of breathe for Students

breathed; breathing
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 : 1live 1 He still breathes.
4 : 1say 1, utter
  • Don't breathe a word of this.

Medical Dictionary

breathe

verb \ ˈbrēt͟h \

medical Definition of breathe

breathed; breathing
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
: to inhale and exhale
  • breathing fresh air


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