from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One that breathes, especially in a specified manner.
  • noun Informal A short rest period.
  • noun Informal An activity, such as strenuous exercise, that causes difficult breathing.
  • noun A small vent allowing the passage of gas or liquid to or from an enclosed area.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who breathes or lives.
  • noun One who utters or whispers.
  • noun One who animates or inspires.
  • noun Anything, as a walk, gymnastic exercise, etc., that stimulates or gives healthy action to the breathing organs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who breathes.
  • noun One who lives.
  • noun One who utters.
  • noun One who animates or inspires.
  • noun colloq. That which puts one out of breath, as violent exercise.
  • noun colloq. a pause to catch one's breath, or for some other form of rest or refreshment; -- often used in the phrase to take a breather, i.e. to pause for refreshment.
  • noun a vent in a container to allow equalization of internal and external pressure.
  • noun an air intake pipe to provide air to machinery or people submerged or otherwise sealed off from the outside.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Something or someone that breathes.
  • noun A short break; a rest or respite.
  • noun physics A spatially localized, time-periodic excitation in a one-dimensional lattice.
  • noun colloquial, dated That which puts one out of breath, such as violent exercise.

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

  • noun air passage provided by a retractable device containing intake and exhaust pipes; permits a submarine to stay submerged for extended periods of time
  • noun a short respite


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word breather.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "To make an artificial Peregrine soliton happen, researchers took a nonlinear fiber optic channel and sent through light waves called "breathers." Breathers are nonlinear waves that have concentrated energy and are either localized in space and oscillate in time, or vice versa."

    --Peregrine soliton may explain ocean's rogue waves

    by Casey Johnston,

    July 25, 2011