Sense: 1-7, 9
Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: Latin aer, from Greek
Sense: 8
Date: 1500-1600
Origin: Probably a translation of Italian aria; ARIA


1 noun
Related topics: Air
air1 S1 W1


[uncountable] the mixture of gases around the Earth, that we breathe:
You need to put some air in the tyres.
in the air
There was a strong smell of burning in the air.
Let's go outside and get some fresh air.
public opposition to air pollution

➔ a breath of fresh air

at breath (2)

space above the ground

the air

the space above the ground or around things
into the air
Flames leapt into the air.
through the air
He fell 2000 metres through the air without a parachute.



by air

travelling by, or using a plane:
I'd prefer to travel by air.
b) relating to or involving planes:
the victims of Britain's worst air disaster
Air travel was growing rapidly.
air traffic congestion
His brother died in an air crash.

be in the air

a) if a feeling is in the air, a lot of people feel it at the same time:
There was a sense of excitement in the air.
b) to be going to happen very soon:
Change is in the air.


[singular] if something or someone has an air of confidence, mystery etc, they seem confident, mysterious etc
air of
She had an air of quiet confidence.
She looked at him with a determined air.

be up in the air

if something is up in the air, no decision has been made about it yet:
Our trip is still very much up in the air.

be on/off (the) air

TCB to be broadcasting on the radio or television at the present moment, or to stop broadcasting:
We'll be on air in three minutes.


[countable] a simple tune, often used in the title of a piece of classical music


[plural] a way of behaving that shows someone thinks they are more important than they really are
put on airs/give yourself airs
Trudy is always putting on airs.
an actor with no airs and graces

be walking/floating on air

to feel very happy
hot air, on-air

; ➔ clear the air

at clear2 (15)

; ➔ disappear/vanish into thin air

at thin1 (15)

; ➔ out of thin air

at thin1 (16)

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