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

  • n. The act or process of inhaling and exhaling; breathing. Also called ventilation.
  • n. The act or process by which an organism without lungs, such as a fish or plant, exchanges gases with its environment.
  • n. The oxidative process occurring within living cells by which the chemical energy of organic molecules is released in a series of metabolic steps involving the consumption of oxygen and the liberation of carbon dioxide and water.
  • n. Any of various analogous metabolic processes by which certain organisms, such as fungi and anaerobic bacteria, obtain energy from organic molecules.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The process of inhaling and exhaling; breathing, breath.
  • n. An act of breathing; a breath.
  • n. Any similar process, in organisms that lack lungs, that exchanges gases with its environment.
  • n. The process by which cells obtain chemical energy by the consumption of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of respiring or breathing again, or catching one's breath.
  • n. Relief from toil or suffering: rest.
  • n. Interval; intermission.
  • n. The act of resping or breathing; the act of taking in and giving out air; the aggregate of those processes bu which oxygen is introduced into the system, and carbon dioxide, or carbonic acid, removed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of breathing again or resuming life.
  • n. The inspiration and expiration of air.
  • n. That function by which there takes place an absorption of oxygen from the surrounding medium into the blood with a corresponding excretion of carbon dioxid.
  • n. In physiological bot., a process consisting in the absorption by plants of oxygen from the air, the oxidation of assimilated products, and the release of carbon dioxid and watery vapor.
  • n. The respiratory murmur.
  • n. A breathing-spell; an interval.

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

  • n. the metabolic processes whereby certain organisms obtain energy from organic molecules; processes that take place in the cells and tissues during which energy is released and carbon dioxide is produced and absorbed by the blood to be transported to the lungs
  • n. the bodily process of inhalation and exhalation; the process of taking in oxygen from inhaled air and releasing carbon dioxide by exhalation
  • n. a single complete act of breathing in and out


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English respiracioun, from Latin respiratio, from respirare.


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  • One knows that after violent exercise one breathes heavily for some time: the more violent the exercise, the longer one's respiration is laboured.

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  • By cutting the nerve fibres which travel from the sinus to the medulla, it was demonstrated that the increase in respiration after inhalation of air of low oxygen content, did not occur at all, and that consequently the stimulating reaction depended entirely on the sinus reflex.

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  • I find them to act very soothingly in the simple asthma, facilitating respiration after a few minutes; but during the paroxysmal stage they cannot be utilized, for the reason that respiration is short and rapid, and does not permit of a control in the quantity of the gas to be inhaled.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 795, March 28, 1891


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