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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.
  2. A diacritical mark indicating aspiration or lack thereof.
  3. (archaic) Time to recover one's breath; hence, a delay, a spell of time.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2 Scene 1
      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