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  1. present participle of breathe


breathing (countable and uncountable, plural breathings)

  1. The act of respiration; a single instance of this.
    • 1848, The New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal
      [] their breathings, cryings, and excretings would have been damaged []
  2. A diacritical mark indicating aspiration or lack thereof.
  3. (archaic) Time to recover one's breath; hence, a delay, a spell of time.
    • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i]:
      DON PEDRO. Count Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
      CLAUDIO. To-morrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love have all his rites.
      LEONATO. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just seven-night; and a time too brief too, to have all things answer my mind.
      DON PEDRO. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us.
  4. Any gentle influence or operation; inspiration.
    the breathings of the Holy Spirit
  5. Aspiration; secret prayer.
    • May 24, 1683, John Tillotson, sermon preached at the funeral of Reverend Benjamin Whichcot
      earnest desires and breathings after that blessed state

Derived termsEdit