breathing Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the bodily process of inhalation and exhalation; the process of taking in oxygen from inhaled air and releasing carbon dioxide by exhalation
    external respiration; respiration; ventilation.
  2. verb draw air into, and expel out of, the lungs
    breathe; respire; take a breath; suspire.
    • I can breathe better when the air is clean
    • The patient is respiring
  3. verb be alive
    • Every creature that breathes
  4. verb impart as if by breathing
    • He breathed new life into the old house
  5. verb allow the passage of air through
    • Our new synthetic fabric breathes and is perfect for summer wear
  6. verb utter or tell
    • not breathe a word
  7. verb manifest or evince
    • She breathes the Christian spirit
  8. verb take a short break from one's activities in order to relax
    breathe; take a breather; catch one's breath; rest.
  9. verb reach full flavor by absorbing air and being let to stand after having been uncorked
    • This rare Bordeaux must be allowed to breathe for at least 2 hours
  10. verb expel (gases or odors)
    breathe; emit; pass off.
  11. adjective passing or able to pass air in and out of the lungs normally; sometimes used in combination
    eupneic; eupnoeic.
    • the boy was disappointed to find only skeletons instead of living breathing dinosaurs
    • the heavy-breathing person on the telephone


Breath"ing noun
  1. Respiration; the act of inhaling and exhaling air.
    Subject to a difficulty of breathing. Melmoth.
  2. Air in gentle motion.
  3. Any gentle influence or operation; inspiration; as, the breathings of the Spirit.
  4. Aspiration; secret prayer. "Earnest desires and breathings after that blessed state." Tillotson.
  5. Exercising; promotion of respiration.
    Here is a lady that wants breathing too; And I have heard, you knights of Tyre Are excellent in making ladies trip. Shak.
  6. Utterance; communication or publicity by words.
    I am sorry to give breathing to my purpose. Shak.
  7. Breathing place; vent. Dryden.
  8. Stop; pause; delay.
    You shake the head at so long a breathing. Shak.
  9. Also, in a wider sense, the sound caused by the friction of the outgoing breath in the throat, mouth, etc., when the glottis is wide open; aspiration; the sound expressed by the letter h.
  10. (Gr. Gram.) A mark to indicate aspiration or its absence. See Rough breathing, Smooth breathing, below.

Webster 1913