What does breath mean?

Definitions for breath

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word breath.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. breathnoun

    the process of taking in and expelling air during breathing

    "he took a deep breath and dived into the pool"; "he was fighting to his last breath"

  2. breathnoun

    the air that is inhaled and exhaled in respiration

    "his sour breath offended her"

  3. breath, breather, breathing place, breathing space, breathing spell, breathing timenoun

    a short respite

  4. hint, intimation, breathnoun

    an indirect suggestion

    "not a breath of scandal ever touched her"

  5. breathnoun

    a slight movement of the air

    "there wasn't a breath of air in the room"


  1. breathnoun

    The act or process of breathing.

  2. breathnoun

    A single act of breathing in or out.

    I took a deep breath and started the test.

  3. breathnoun

    Air expelled from the lungs.

    I could feel the runner's breath on my shoulder.

  4. breathnoun

    A rest or pause.

    Let's stop for a breath when we get to the top of the hill.

  5. breathnoun

    a small amount of something, such as wind, or common sense

  6. Etymology: bræþ, from brēþaz, from bʰrēto-.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. BREATHnoun

    Etymology: braðe, Saxon.

    Whither are they vanish’d?
    Into the air: and what seem’d corporal
    Melted, as breath into the wind. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    No man has more contempt than I of breath;
    But whence hast thou the pow’r to give me death? Dryden.

    At other times, he casts to sue the chace
    Of swift wild beasts, or run on foot a race,
    T’enlarge his breath, large breath in arms most needful,
    Or else, by wrestling, to wax strong and heedful. Edmund Spenser.

    What is your difference? speak. ——
    —— I am scarce in breath, my lord. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Spaniard, take breath; some respite I’ll afford;
    My cause is more advantage than your sword. Dryden.

    Our swords so wholly did the fates employ,
    That they, at length, grew weary to destroy;
    Refus’d the work we brought, and out of breath,
    Made sorrow and despair attend for death. John Dryden, Aureng.

    Rest, that gives all men life, gave him his death,
    And too much breathing put him out of breath. John Milton.

    Give me some breath; some little pause, dear lord,
    Before I positively speak. William Shakespeare, Richard III.

    Vent all thy passion, and I’ll stand its shock,
    Calm and unruffled as a summer’s sea,
    When not a breath of wind flies o’er its surface. Joseph Addison, Cato.

    You menace me, and court me in a breath,
    Your Cupid looks as dreadfully as death. Dryden.


  1. breath

    Breathing (or ventilation) is the process of moving air into and from the lungs to facilitate gas exchange with the internal environment, mostly to flush out carbon dioxide and bring in oxygen. All aerobic creatures need oxygen for cellular respiration, which extracts energy from the reaction of oxygen with molecules derived from food and produces carbon dioxide as a waste product. Breathing, or "external respiration", brings air into the lungs where gas exchange takes place in the alveoli through diffusion. The body's circulatory system transports these gases to and from the cells, where "cellular respiration" takes place.The breathing of all vertebrates with lungs consists of repetitive cycles of inhalation and exhalation through a highly branched system of tubes or airways which lead from the nose to the alveoli. The number of respiratory cycles per minute is the breathing or respiratory rate, and is one of the four primary vital signs of life. Under normal conditions the breathing depth and rate is automatically, and unconsciously, controlled by several homeostatic mechanisms which keep the partial pressures of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the arterial blood constant. Keeping the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the arterial blood unchanged under a wide variety of physiological circumstances, contributes significantly to tight control of the pH of the extracellular fluids (ECF). Over-breathing (hyperventilation) and under-breathing (hypoventilation), which decrease and increase the arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide respectively, cause a rise in the pH of ECF in the first case, and a lowering of the pH in the second. Both cause distressing symptoms. Breathing has other important functions. It provides a mechanism for speech, laughter and similar expressions of the emotions. It is also used for reflexes such as yawning, coughing and sneezing. Animals that cannot thermoregulate by perspiration, because they lack sufficient sweat glands, may lose heat by evaporation through panting.


  1. breath

    Breath can refer to the process of inhaling and exhaling air, usually through the nose or mouth, in order to provide the body with oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. It is an essential bodily function for all living organisms, allowing them to sustain life. Breath can also refer to the air that is exhaled during this process or the act of taking a pause to inhale and exhale deeply in order to relax or regain composure.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Breathnoun

    the air inhaled and exhaled in respiration; air which, in the process of respiration, has parted with oxygen and has received carbonic acid, aqueous vapor, warmth, etc

  2. Breathnoun

    the act of breathing naturally or freely; the power or capacity to breathe freely; as, I am out of breath

  3. Breathnoun

    the power of respiration, and hence, life

  4. Breathnoun

    time to breathe; respite; pause

  5. Breathnoun

    a single respiration, or the time of making it; a single act; an instant

  6. Breathnoun

    fig.: That which gives or strengthens life

  7. Breathnoun

    a single word; the slightest effort; a trifle

  8. Breathnoun

    a very slight breeze; air in gentle motion

  9. Breathnoun

    fragrance; exhalation; odor; perfume

  10. Breathnoun

    gentle exercise, causing a quicker respiration


  1. Breath

    Respiro is a 2002 Italian film written and directed by Emanuele Crialese and released in English-language markets in 2003. The film stars Valeria Golino, Vincenzo Amato, and Francesco Casisa. In the Italian language, respiro means a "breath".

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Breath

    breth, n. the air drawn into and then expelled from the lungs: power of breathing: life: the time occupied by once breathing: a very slight breeze.—adjs. Breath′ful (Spens.), full of breath or air, also full of scent or odour; Breath′less, out of breath: dead: excessively eager, as if holding one's breath from excitement.—n. Breath′lessness.—To catch the breath, to stop breathing for an instant; To spend one's breath, as in profitless talk; To take breath, to recover freedom of breathing; With bated breath, with breath restrained from reverence or fear. [A.S. brǽth; Ger. brodem, steam, breath.]

Editors Contribution

  1. breath

    The air that we breathe.

    When I hugged my husband I could smell morning coffee off his breath.

    Submitted by MaryC on December 31, 2019  

Suggested Resources

  1. Breath

    Breath vs. Breathe -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Breath and Breathe.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Breath is ranked #121590 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Breath surname appeared 142 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Breath.

    50% or 71 total occurrences were White.
    43.6% or 62 total occurrences were Black.
    3.5% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'breath' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2023

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'breath' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3639

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'breath' in Nouns Frequency: #881

Anagrams for breath »

  1. bather

  2. bertha

  3. Bertha

How to pronounce breath?

How to say breath in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of breath in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of breath in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of breath in a Sentence

  1. H.W. Mann:

    Breath calms the body. Breath calms the mind. Breath brings balance, to all of mankind. Our first breath coming in. Our last breath going out. Breath regulates life, of this there is no doubt. Breathe.

  2. Diana Winston:

    You can notice breath after breath, then your attention wanders, then you notice Your Attention wandered, and you bring Your Attention back to your breath. You just keep doing this over and over. That's a great starting point.

  3. Oliver Goldsmith:

    Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ill a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay Princes and Lords may flourish, or may fade A breath can make them, as a breath has made but a bold peasantry, their country's pride, When once destroyed can never be supplied.

  4. Andi Shane:

    Children who may need medical attention may breathe fast, use their neck or chest muscles to breath, and feel as if they cannot catch their breath after coughing.

  5. Jamela Dunbar:

    We live and breathe, aware, or unaware this is what we do. The breath that we breathe in and out is our one source of life. To live and function as a human being. Breathing to live, and living to breathe is our sole lifeline until our last breath. We should take nothing for granted. And appreciate every breath we breathe in and out to live on Mother Earth.”

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for breath

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"breath." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 11 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/breath>.

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