\ ˈ(h)wēz How to pronounce wheeze (audio) \
wheezed; wheezing

Definition of wheeze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to breathe with difficulty usually with a whistling sound
2 : to make a sound resembling that of wheezing the bellows wheezed



Definition of wheeze (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a sound of wheezing
2a : an often repeated and widely known joke used especially by entertainers
b : a trite saying or proverb

Synonyms for wheeze

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of wheeze in a Sentence

Verb He was up all night hacking and wheezing. The car's motor wheezed and stalled. Noun Between gasps and wheezes, he tried to explain what had happened. the wheeze of an engine We can count on him for a good wheeze.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ron would wheeze while hiking, and sometimes at night, but a nebulizer made his breathing less strained. Patrick Hruby, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2021 But all of us are likely to feel the effects of a sick and wheezing economy. Jarvis Deberry, cleveland, 18 Apr. 2020 By March 29, though, Massamore was wheezing and having trouble holding a conversation. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, 9 Apr. 2020 No social media existed at the time, but people were frantically texting to each other about a new type of acute influenza that was making people cough and wheeze. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz, 12 Feb. 2020 The room was small and dimly lit, with pocked floors, bare walls, and a fold-out table littered with empty juice bottles; a small pink fan wheezed in the corner. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, 3 Oct. 2019 When her daughter started wheezing, Sainz stopped taking her to the park. Erin Stone, azcentral, 31 Dec. 2019 There are photos of the president grinning out from the middle of some ruddy array of wheezing burghers or gouty lawmen, always shot from far enough away that everyone’s shoes are visible. David Roth, The New Republic, 19 Dec. 2019 That may help explain the desperation to get ahead, manifested by their factcheckUK wheeze. The Economist, 21 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The loud wheeze of air brakes proceeds a concussive thud. Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 2022 Or heard a lithium battery wheeze its last, horrifying breath? Eli Burnstein, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2021 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the Institute of Medicine has linked indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people. BostonGlobe.com, 28 Aug. 2021 Blunt, 38, has this past year to thank for the fear that every little rasp or wheeze could be a sign of the pandemic. Nick Romano, EW.com, 14 May 2021 There are no heroes here, just Kidman fully immersing herself in a character for whom every action is an attack, for whom every word is a wheeze, and for whom every movement looks labored. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 25 Feb. 2021 This was a questionable wheeze even when European airports lobbied for it in the 1950s. The Economist, 27 Feb. 2021 That wheeze of mediocrity prompted the NFL to team with Jay-Z and his company, Roc Nation, giving the rap mogul an influential voice in the league’s marquee music events, including the halftime show. Melissa Ruggieri, ajc, 3 Feb. 2021 However, there were no significant associations between vaping nicotine and wheeze. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 24 Dec. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of wheeze


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wheeze


Middle English whesen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse hvæsa to hiss; akin to Old English hwǣst action of blowing, Sanskrit śvasiti he blows, snorts

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The first known use of wheeze was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Wheeze.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wheeze. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wheeze


\ ˈhwēz How to pronounce wheeze (audio) , ˈwēz \
wheezed; wheezing

Kids Definition of wheeze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to breathe with difficulty and usually with a whistling sound
2 : to make a whistling sound like someone having difficulty breathing



Kids Definition of wheeze (Entry 2 of 2)

: a whistling sound like that made by someone having difficulty breathing


intransitive verb
\ ˈhwēz How to pronounce wheeze (audio) , ˈwēz How to pronounce wheeze (audio) \
wheezed; wheezing

Medical Definition of wheeze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to breathe with difficulty usually with a whistling sound



Medical Definition of wheeze (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sibilant whistling sound caused by difficult or obstructed respiration

More from Merriam-Webster on wheeze

Nglish: Translation of wheeze for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wheeze for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wheeze


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