From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishbreathebreathe /briːð/ ●●● S3 W3 verb 1 airAIR [intransitive, transitive]BREATHE 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).2 blowBLOW [intransitive, transitive]BREATHE to blow air or smoke out of your mouthbreathe 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.3 → somebody can breathe easy/easily4 → breathe a sigh of relief5 → be breathing down somebody’s neck6 → not breathe a word7 → breathe life into something8 skin [intransitive] if your skin can breathe, air can reach it9 clothes/fabric [intransitive] if cloth or clothing breathes, air can pass through it so that your body feels pleasantly cool and dry10 wineWINE [intransitive]DFD if you let wine breathe, you open the bottle to let the air get to it before you drink it11 say something quietlySAY something QUIETLY [transitive] writtenSAY/STATE to say something very quietly, almost in a whisper ‘Wait, ’ he breathed.12 → breathe your last (breath)13 → breathe fireCOLLOCATIONSadverbsbreathe deeply (=take long slow breaths of air)She breathed deeply in the cool night air.breathe heavily/hard (=breathe loudly especially after exercise)He’d been running and he was breathing hard.breathe fast/rapidly (=breathe quickly because of illness, fear etc)He closed his eyes, breathing fast under the fever.breathe slowlyBreathe slowly and try to relax.breathe steadily/evenlyThe baby was fast asleep and breathing steadily.breathe easilyMake sure the injured person can breathe easily.nounsbreathe some air/the airIt was wonderful to be outside and breathe some fresh air.breathe fumesThese children are breathing traffic fumes all day long.phrasescan hardly breatheIt was so hot that I felt as though I could hardly breathe.have trouble/difficulty breathingIn high altitudes some people have trouble breathing.struggle to breatheThe crowd pressed in around me and I struggled to breathe.THESAURUSbreathe [intransitive, transitive] to take air into your lungs and send it out againMary knew he was asleep because he was breathing deeply.He breathed the clear spring air.sigh to breathe out slowly and make a noise that shows you are disappointed, tired, relieved etcShe just sighed and shook her head.‘Never mind, ’ he sighed. ‘I’m sure there’ll be other opportunities.’pant to breathe quickly and noisily through your mouth, because you have been using a lot of effortThey were panting by the time they got to the finish line.gasp to breathe very quickly and deeply and with difficultyHer eyes were wide, and she was gasping for breath.‘Do you think you can walk?’ ‘I’ll try to, ’ he gasped.snore to breathe noisily while you are sleepingI couldn’t sleep because my husband was snoring.wheeze to breathe with difficulty, making a noise in your throat and chest, because you are illHis asthma was making him wheeze.be out of breath to be unable to breathe easily, especially because you have been running or doing other exerciseI was out of breath by the time we reached the top of the hill.be short of breath to be unable to breathe easily, especially because you are unhealthyBecause she was so overweight, she was often short of breath. → breathe in → breathe out→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusbreathe• "Come closer, " he breathed.• My eyes began to sting and I couldn't breathe.• The air was so smoky it was difficult to breathe.• The boy was unconscious, but he was still breathing.• Billie kissed the baby, its hands moved, and Rob breathed.• We need it not only to breathe but to protect us.• It was cold, and everyone breathed clouds of vapor.• Her throat muscles useless, she was unable to breathe, cough, or swallow on her own.• I want you to breathe deeply and relax.• Either he was breathing heavily or that was wind in the trees.• Colonel Fergusson had his eyes closed and was breathing out through his nose in long smooth puffs like a bellows.• He's unconscious, breathing spontaneously, slightly hypothermic from exposure.breathe deeply• I leaned over and breathed deeply.• I opened my eyes and gulped, breathing deeply.• Take a daily walk in the park and breathe deeply.• Better yet, you can breathe deeply and not choke on secondhand smoke.• I stopped, breathed deeply, and smiled as sweet air filled my lungs.• She sat for a while, becoming quieter, breathing deeply, ceasing to tremble.• Quinn breathed deeply, exhaled with a trembling chest, and breathed in again.• Exhorting him to breathe deeply they paraded him up and down beside the wire fence.breathe on• I breathed on my fingers to keep them warm.