From Middle English whesen, perhaps from Old Norse hvæsa (to hiss), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwes- (to pant).



wheeze (third-person singular simple present wheezes, present participle wheezing, simple past and past participle wheezed)

  1. To breathe hard, and with an audible piping or whistling sound, as persons affected with asthma.
  2. Of birds, to make a vocalisation that resembles the sound of human wheezing.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 184:
      "Even the fish know it; they don't rise to the bait any more and the birds are scared - hear how they wheeze and cry as they seek the land."
  3. (informal) To convulse with laughter; to become breathless due to intense laughing



wheeze (plural wheezes)

  1. A piping or whistling sound caused by difficult respiration.
  2. An ordinary whisper exaggerated so as to produce the hoarse sound known as the "stage whisper"; a forcible whisper with some admixture of tone.
  3. (British, Irish, slang) An ulterior scheme or plan
  4. (slang) Something very humorous or laughable.
    The new comedy is a wheeze.
    You think you're going to win? That's a real wheeze!



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