Date: 1200-1300
Origin: breath


breathe S3 W3


[intransitive and transitive] to take air into your lungs and send it out again:
The room filled with smoke, and it was becoming difficult to breathe.
People are concerned about the quality of the air they breathe.
Relax and breathe deeply (=take in a lot of air).


[intransitive and transitive] to blow air or smoke out of your mouth
breathe on
Roy breathed on his hands and rubbed them together vigorously.
breathe something over somebody
The fat man opposite was breathing garlic all over me.

somebody can breathe easy/easily

used when saying that someone can relax because a worrying or dangerous situation has ended:
With stocks going up, investors can breathe easily.

breathe a sigh of relief

to stop being worried or frightened about something:
Once the deadline passed, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

be breathing down somebody's neck

informal to pay very close attention to what someone is doing in a way that makes them feel nervous or annoyed:
How can I concentrate with you breathing down my neck all the time?

not breathe a word

to not tell anyone anything at all about something, because it is a secret:
Don't breathe a word; it's supposed to be a surprise.

breathe life into something

to change a situation so that people feel more excited or interested:
Critics are hoping the young director can breathe new life into the French film industry.


[intransitive] if your skin can breathe, air can reach it


[intransitive] if cloth or clothing breathes, air can pass through it so that your body feels pleasantly cool and dry


[intransitive]DFD if you let wine breathe, you open the bottle to let the air get to it before you drink it

say something quietly

[transitive] written to say something very quietly, almost in a whisper:
'Wait,' he breathed.

breathe your last (breath)

literary to die

breathe fire

to talk and behave in a very angry way

➔ live and breathe something

at live1 (19)
WORD FOCUS: breathe WORD FOCUS: breathe
to breathe in: inhale formal

to breathe out: exhale formal

to breathe noisily: sniff, snore (when sleeping)
, sigh

to breathe with difficulty: gasp, pant, wheeze, be short of breath, be out of breath

to be unable to breathe: choke, suffocate
breathe respiration, lung

breathe in

phrasal verb
to take air into your lungs:
The doctor made me breathe in while he listened to my chest.
breathe something ↔ in
Wyatt breathed in the cool ocean air.

breathe out

phrasal verb
to send air out from your lungs:
Jim breathed out deeply.
breathe something ↔ out
Lauren lit up a cigarette, then breathed out a puff of smoke.

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