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 *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.
breath (countable and uncountable, plural breaths)
- (uncountable) The act or process of breathing.
I could hear the breath of the runner behind me.
The child's breath came quickly and unevenly.
- Breezes blowing from beds of iris quickened her breath with their perfume; she saw the tufted lilacs sway in the wind, and the streamers of mauve-tinted wistaria swinging, all a-glisten with golden bees; she saw a crimson cardinal winging through the foliage, and amorous tanagers flashing like scarlet flames athwart the pines.
- (countable) A single act of breathing in or out.
I took a deep breath and started the test.
- 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterI:
- Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. […] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
2012 December 9, John Branch, “Snow Fall : The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”, in New York Time:
- She knew from avalanche safety courses that outstretched hands might puncture the ice surface and alert rescuers. She knew that if victims ended up buried under the snow, cupped hands in front of the face could provide a small pocket of air for the mouth and nose. Without it, the first breaths could create a suffocating ice mask.
- (uncountable) Air expelled from the lungs.
I could feel the runner's breath on my shoulder.
- (countable) A rest or pause.
Let's stop for a breath when we get to the top of the hill.
- A small amount of something, such as wind, or common sense.
Even with all the windows open, there is hardly a breath of air in here.
If she had a breath of common sense, she would never have spoken to the man in the first place.
- (obsolete) Fragrance; exhalation; odor; perfume.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Tennyson to this entry?)
- (obsolete) Gentle exercise, causing a quicker respiration.
Terms derived from breath
act or process of breathing
- Kyrgyz: дем алуу (ky) (dem aluu), дем тартуу (ky) (dem tartuu), дем (ky) (dem), ичке дем тартуу (içke dem tartuu), өмүр (ky) (ömür), тиричилик (ky) (tiriçilik), болмуш (ky) (bolmuş), жашоо (ky) (caşoo), турмуш (ky) (turmuş), желдөө (ky) (celdöö), рух (ky) (ruh)
- Latgalian: dvašuot
- Latin: spiritus m
- Latvian: elpošana f, dvašošana f
- Luxembourgish: Ootmung f
- Manx: ennal f
- Maori: manawa
- Bokmål: pust m
- Nynorsk: pust m
- Old English: æþm, oroþ n
- Persian: نفس (fa) (nafas), دم (fa) (dam)
- Polish: oddech (pl) m
- Portuguese: respiração (pt)
- Quechua: samay
- Romanian: respirație (ro)
- Russian: дыха́ние (ru) n (dyxánije), вздох (ru) m (vzdox)
- Slovak: dýchanie n
- Spanish: respiración (es) f
- Swedish: andning (sv) c
- Turkish: nefes (tr)
- Vietnamese: hô hấp (vi) (呼吸)
- Welsh: anadl (cy) m, f
single act of breathing in and out
air expelled from the lungs
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
Translations to be checked