World Book Dictionary*
n. respiration: the sick man’s labored breathing.
a single breath.
a) the time needed for a single breath; a very short time: It was there only for
the breathing of a second (Benjamin Disraeli). b) a pause; rest.
a remark; utterance: Hide not thine ear at my breathing (Lamentations 3:56).
a slight breeze; a soft wind: The breathings of the lightest air that blows
a the sound of the letter h; aspiration. b either of two marks, like single
inverted commas, placed above a vowel in Greek to show whether it is aspirated.
physical exercise, as stimulating breathing.
Figurative. lifelike: The portrait was a real breathing likeness.
breath «brehth», noun.
the air drawn into and forced out of the lungs: The drowning man gasped for a
the act of breathing: The injured man’s breath was labored. SYNONYM(S):
the moisture from breathing: You can see your breath on a very cold day.
the ability to breathe easily:
Running fast made him lose his breath.
a) a single drawing in and forcing out of air from the body: I’ll fight to the
last breath (Harriet Beecher Stowe).
b) the air drawn in: Take a deep breath, and hold it.
c) the time required for one breath; a moment: Love that endures for a breath
(Algernon Charles Swinburne).
Figurative. a slight movement in the air; light breeze: Not a breath was
time to breathe freely; respite: Give me some little breath, some pause, dear
Lord (Shakespeare). SYNONYM(S): rest, pause.
Figurative. something said softly; whisper.
Figurative. a slight trace or suggestion; hint: the breath of suspicion. This
administration has not been marred by one breath of scandal. SYNONYM(S): stain,
film, taint. efn>= life. SYNONYM(S): existence.
Phonetics. forming a sound without motion of the vocal cords, producing such
consonants as h, s, f, p, t, k.
the fragrance given off, especially by flowers; odor; smell: the breath of
spring. SYNONYM(S): scent.
anything trivial or short-lived: a dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy
Obsolete. vapor; steam; exhalation.
catch one’s breath,
a to gasp; pant: The dogs were catching their breath after
the long chase. b to stop for breath; rest: He took off a few minutes from the
game to catch his breath. c to hold one’s breath suddenly in emotion: When the
little girl saw the new doll, she caught her breath for joy.
hold one’s breath,
to check exhalation: We all held our breath as we listened for the noise again.
in the same breath,
at the same time: She laughed and cried in the same
breath. b Figurative. in the same category or class: Many critics consider it
sacrilege to mention him [a bullfighter] in the same breath with Manolete,
Belmonte,…or Paco Camino (Time).
out of breath,
short of breath; breathless: At the end of the race the winner was out of
save one’s breath,
to keep silent: You might as well save your breath, since no one is listening to
take (or gather) breath,
to rest for a moment; pause to rest or reflect: The exhausted workers sat down
to take breath.
take the breath (away),
to make breathless with surprise or shock; dumfound; flabbergast: But the growth
since the war has taken the breath of even experts (Wall Street Journal).
under (or below) one’s breath,
in a whisper: She was talking under her breath so no one could hear.
[Old English br odor; steam]
* We chose the
world book due to its contemporary accuracy stemming from usage in the
world book encyclopedia.
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