Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The air inhaled and exhaled in respiration.
  • n. The act or process of breathing; respiration.
  • n. The capacity to breathe, especially in a natural and unlabored manner: shortness of breath.
  • n. Spirit or vitality; life.
  • n. A single respiration: a deep breath.
  • n. Exhaled air, as evidenced by vapor, odor, or heat.
  • n. A momentary pause or rest.
  • n. A momentary stirring of air.
  • n. A slight gust of fragrant air.
  • n. A trace or suggestion: a breath of scandal.
  • n. A softly spoken sound; a whisper.
  • n. Linguistics Exhalation of air without vibration of the vocal cords, as in the articulation of p and s.
  • idiom one At or almost at the same time.
  • idiom out of breath Breathing with difficulty, as from exertion; gasping.
  • idiom under (one's) breath In a muted voice or whisper.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act or process of breathing.
  • n. A single act of breathing in or out.
  • n. Air expelled from the lungs.
  • n. A rest or pause.
  • n. a small amount of something, such as wind, or common sense

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The air inhaled and exhaled in respiration; air which, in the process of respiration, has parted with oxygen and has received carbonic acid, aqueous vapor, warmth, etc.
  • n. The act of breathing naturally or freely; the power or capacity to breathe freely.
  • n. The power of respiration, and hence, life.
  • n. Time to breathe; respite; pause.
  • n. A single respiration, or the time of making it; a single act; an instant.
  • n. Fig.: That which gives or strengthens life.
  • n. A single word; the slightest effort; a trifle.
  • n. A very slight breeze; air in gentle motion.
  • n. Fragrance; exhalation; odor; perfume.
  • n. Gentle exercise, causing a quicker respiration.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Vapor; steam; exhalation.
  • n. The air inhaled and exhaled in respiration.
  • n. Ability to breathe; life as dependent on respiration.
  • n. The state or power of breathing freely: as, to be out of breath; to be in breath.
  • n. A single act of breathing; a respiration: as, he swears at every breath; to draw a full breath.
  • n. Hence The time of a single respiration; a single act; an instant.
  • n. Respite; pause; time to breathe.
  • n. A gentle exercise, causing a quicker respiration.
  • n. A respiratory movement, as of free air; a blowing.
  • n. Spoken words; speech.
  • n. A mere word; a trivial circumstance; a thing without substance; a trifle.
  • n. An odorous exhalation.
  • n. In philology, a breathing; aspiration; aspirate sound.
  • n. Opinion; sentiments: as, I would fain hear his breath on this matter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the process of taking in and expelling air during breathing
  • n. a slight movement of the air
  • n. an indirect suggestion
  • n. a short respite
  • n. the air that is inhaled and exhaled in respiration

Etymologies

Middle English breth, from Old English brǣth; see gwhrē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English breeth, breth, from Old English brǣþ ("odor, scent, stink, exhalation, vapor"), from Proto-Germanic *brēþiz (“vapour, waft, exhalation, breath”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrē-t- (“exhalation from heat; steam”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- (“to seethe, toss about, cook”). Cognate with Scots breth, breith ("breath"), German Brodem ("steam, vapour, fume, odour"). Related also to Icelandic bráður ("hasty, hurried, excited, rash"). More at brath. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Let me tell you such men don't waste one breath in mentioning anything that does not mean a big interest per cent, _not one breath_.

    Flamsted quarries

  • "Yet your gay laughter, Messire de Puysange, is after all but breath: and _breath_ also" -- the bishop's sharp eyes fixed Perion's -- "has a hackneyed rhyme."

    Domnei A Comedy of Woman-Worship

  • This waste comes from exhaling more breath (more motive power) than the tone requires, and _breath that does not become tone is wasted_.

    Resonance in Singing and Speaking

  • * must retain self .... will not have a spaz attack ... breath breath*

    techPowerUp!

  • III. xiii.77 (204,9) Tell him, from his all-obeying breath I hear/The doom of Aegypt] _Doom_ is declared rather by an _all-commanding_, than an _all-obeying breath_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • She told me that the germs (virii?) drop when your breath is a foot from your face.

    SWINE FLU

  • The gift of their breath is as special to us as the breath of the Holy Spirit.

    Religion

  • Attention to the breath is a way to release the wild monkey's control whether practicing yoga or otherwise.

    la recolte - French Word-A-Day

  • It is only a contraction of the Latin word "breath," and an indistinct translation of the Greek word for "wind."

    Harvard Classics Volume 28 Essays English and American

  • It is no accident that the word breath in many ancient languages also refers to spirit: "ruach" in Hebrew; "prana" in Sanskrit; "pneuma" in Greek; "spiritus" in Latin.

    Lama Surya Das: 5 Secrets for Healing the Spirit

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