\ ˈləŋ How to pronounce lung (audio) \

Definition of lung

1a : one of the usually paired compound saccular thoracic organs that constitute the basic respiratory organs of an air-breathing vertebrate
b : any of various respiratory organs of invertebrates
2a : a device enabling individuals abandoning a submarine to rise to the surface
b : a mechanical device for regularly introducing fresh air into and withdrawing stale air from the lung : respirator — compare iron lung

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from lung

lungful \ ˈləŋ-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce lungful (audio) \ noun

Examples of lung in a Sentence

He filled his lungs with the clean. fresh air.

Recent Examples on the Web

The process delivers fewer harmful chemicals to smokers’ lungs than conventional cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though e-cigarettes often contain higher concentrations of nicotine, an addictive chemical. Washington Post, "How two Stanford grads aimed for big tech glory and got Big Tobacco instead," 5 Sep. 2019 Watson getting hit early and often and recovering from lung injuries. Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley’s Texans season preview Q&A with Rivers McCown," 4 Sep. 2019 Birds already have a better heart and lungs than mammals for sustained physical activity. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "This bird really can fly over Mount Everest, wind tunnel experiments reveal," 3 Sep. 2019 If not handled correctly, asbestos fibers when breathed become trapped in lung tissue and can cause mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer. Kevin Grasha,, "Asbestos cleanup at former Lawrence County power plant to cost millions," 3 Sep. 2019 While rarely fatal, there have been cases where people with pre-existing lung and heart problems have died after being exposed to pepper spray, Raja said. John Hilliard,, "36 arrested during Straight Pride protests due in court this week," 1 Sep. 2019 Some doctors have reported that cannabinoid oils vaporized in cartridges may be causing some of the lung inflammation. New York Times, "Don’t Use Bootleg or Street Vaping Products, C.D.C. Warns," 30 Aug. 2019 Some states have said that patients with lung problems largely reported using vaping products that contain THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. Anna Edney, Fortune, "Juul and Other E-Cigarette Devices Are Under Investigation by the FDA as Possible Cause of Seizures," 29 Aug. 2019 Health spoke to pulmonologists (aka, lung doctors) to understand chemical pneumonia better. Maggie O'neill,, "How Can You Get Chemical Pneumonia From Vaping? Pulmonologists Explain," 29 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lung.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of lung

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lung

Middle English lunge, from Old English lungen; akin to Old High German lungun lung, līhti light in weight — more at light

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lung

Dictionary Entries near lung






lung book


Statistics for lung

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lung

The first known use of lung was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lung



English Language Learners Definition of lung

: either one of the two organs that people and animals use to breathe air


\ ˈləŋ How to pronounce lung (audio) \

Kids Definition of lung

: either of two organs in the chest that are like bags and are the main breathing structure in animals that breathe air


\ ˈləŋ How to pronounce lung (audio) \

Medical Definition of lung

1a : one of the usually two compound saccular organs that constitute the basic respiratory organ of air-breathing vertebrates, that normally occupy the entire lateral parts of the thorax and consist essentially of an inverted tree of intricately branched bronchioles communicating with thin-walled terminal alveoli swathed in a network of delicate capillaries where the actual gaseous exchange of respiration takes place, and that in humans are somewhat flattened with a broad base resting against the diaphragm and have the right lung divided into three lobes and the left into two lobes
b : any of various respiratory organs of invertebrates
2 : a mechanical device for regularly introducing fresh air into and withdrawing stale air from the lungs : respirator — see iron lung

Other Words from lung

lunged adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lung

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lung

Spanish Central: Translation of lung

Nglish: Translation of lung for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lung for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lung

Comments on lung

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!