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From breathe +‎ -ing.



breathing (countable and uncountable, plural breathings)

  1. gerund of breathe: (uncountable) The act of respiration; (countable) a single instance of this.
    • 1848, The New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal:
      [] their breathings, cryings, and excretings would have been damaged []
  2. A diacritical mark indicating aspiration or lack thereof.
  3. (archaic) Time to recover one's breath; hence, a delay, a spell of time.
    • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i]:
      DON PEDRO. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church? / CLAUDIO. To-morrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love have all his rites. / LEONATO. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night; and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my mind. / DON PEDRO. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us.
  4. Any gentle influence or operation; inspiration.
    the breathings of the Holy Spirit
  5. Aspiration; secret prayer.
    • 1683 June 3 (Gregorian calendar), John Tillotson, “Sermon XXIV. Preached at the Funeral of the Reverend Benjamin Whichcot, D.D. May 24, 1683.”, in The Works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: [], 8th edition, London: [] T. Goodwin, B[enjamin] Tooke, and J. Pemberton, []; J. Round [], and J[acob] Tonson] [], published 1720, →OCLC, page 248:
      Let us then begin Heaven here, in the Frame and Temper of our Minds, in our heavenly Affections and Converſation; in a due Prepation for, and in earneſt Deſires and Breathings after that bleſſed State vvhich vve firmly believe and aſſuredly hope to be one day poſſeſſed of: []

Derived terms[edit]




  1. present participle and gerund of breathe

Further reading[edit]