breathe

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English brethen (to breathe, blow, exhale, odour), from breth (breath). More at breath.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

breathe (third-person singular simple present breathes, present participle breathing, simple past and past participle breathed)

  1. (intransitive) To draw air into (inhale), and expel air from (exhale), the lungs in order to extract oxygen and excrete waste gases.
  2. (intransitive) To take in needed gases and expel waste gases in a similar way.
    Fish have gills so they can breathe underwater.
  3. (transitive) To use (a gas) to sustain life.
    While life as we know it depends on oxygen, scientists have speculated that alien life forms might breathe chlorine or methane.
  4. (intransitive) Figuratively, to live.
    I will not allow it, as long as I still breathe.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      I am in health, I breathe.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir Walter Scott
      Breathes there a man with soul so dead?
  5. (transitive) To draw something into the lungs.
    Try not to breathe too much smoke.
  6. (intransitive) To expel air from the lungs, exhale.
    If you breathe on a mirror, it will fog up.
  7. To pass like breath; noiselessly or gently; to emanate; to blow gently.
    The wind breathes through the trees.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      The air breathes upon us here most sweetly.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Byron
      There breathes a living fragrance from the shore.
  8. (transitive) To give an impression of, to exude.
    The decor positively breathes classical elegance.
  9. (transitive) To whisper quietly.
    He breathed the words into her ear, but she understood them all.
  10. (intransitive) To exchange gases with the environment.
    Garments made of certain new materials breathe well and keep the skin relatively dry during exercise.
  11. (intransitive, now rare) To rest; to stop and catch one's breath.
    • 1485, Syr Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Bk.X, Ch.lxiiij:
      Thenne they lasshed to gyder many sad strokes / & tracyd and trauercyd now bakward / now sydelyng hurtlyng to gyders lyke two bores / & that same tyme they felle both grouelyng to the erthe / Thus they fought styll withoute ony reposynge two houres and neuer brethed
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Well! breathe awhile, and then to it again!
  12. (transitive) To stop to give (a horse) an opportunity to catch its breath.
    At higher altitudes you need to breathe your horse more often.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Anagrams[edit]