English edit

Etymology edit

From breathe +‎ -ing.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

breathing (countable and uncountable, plural breathings)

  1. gerund of breathe: (uncountable) The act of respiration; (countable) 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, [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.
    • 1683 June 3 (Gregorian calendar), John Tillotson, “Sermon XXIV. Preached at the Funeral of the Reverend Benjamin Whichcot, D.D. May 24, 1683. 2 Cor[inthians] V. 6.”, in The Works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: [], 8th edition, London: [] T. Goodwin, B[enjamin] Tooke, and J. Pemberton, []; J. Round [], and J[acob] Tonson] [], published 1720, →OCLC, page 248:
      Let us then begin Heaven here, in the Frame and Temper of our Minds, in our heavenly Affections and Converſation; in a due Prepation for, and in earneſt Deſires and Breathings after that bleſſed State vvhich vve firmly believe and aſſuredly hope to be one day poſſeſſed of: []

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Verb edit


  1. present participle and gerund of breathe

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit