Language: Old English
Origin: bræth


breath S3 W2
a) [uncountable] the air that you send out of your lungs when you breathe:
Leo could smell the wine on her breath.
Let your breath out slowly.
He's got bad breath (=breath that smells unpleasant).
b) [uncountable] air that you take into your lungs:
Eric came running into the room, out of breath (=having difficulty breathing because he had just been running).
She was fat and short of breath (=unable to breathe easily, especially because of ill health).
gasp/fight etc for breath (=breathe quickly because you are having difficulty breathing)
When he reached the top of the stairs, his heart was pounding and he was gasping for breath.
c) [countable] an amount of air that you take into your lungs
take a (deep/long/big etc) breath (=breathe in a lot of air at one time)
Shaun took a deep breath and dived in.
! Do not confuse the noun breathwith the verb breatheShe took a breath and continued. | I can't breathe in here!

a breath of fresh air

a) something that is new and different in a way you think is exciting and good:
Osborne's play brought a breath of fresh air to the British theatre.
b) clean air outside, which you feel you need after being inside for a long time:
I'm going outside for a breath of fresh air.

don't hold your breath

informal used to say that something is not going to happen soon:
The system's due for an update, but don't hold your breath.

catch your breath

also get your breath back to start breathing normally again after running or making a lot of effort:
Slow down, I need to catch my breath.

don't waste your breath

also save your breath spoken used to say that someone will not be able to persuade someone else, so there is no point in trying:
Save your breath. She's already made up her mind.
Will he listen to me or will I just be wasting my breath?

take somebody's breath away

to be extremely beautiful or exciting:
The view from the top will take your breath away.

under your breath

in a quiet voice so that no one can hear you:
'Son of a bitch,' he muttered under his breath.

in the same breath

a) also in the next breath used to say that someone has said two things at once that are so different from each other they cannot both be true:
He criticized the film, then predicted in the same breath that it would be a great success.
b) if you mention two people or things in the same breath, you show that you think they are alike or are related:
I became nervous when the doctor mentioned my mother's name and 'cancer' in the same breath.
in the same breath as/with
a young poet mentioned in the same breath as T.S. Eliot

with your last/dying breath

at the moment when you are dying:
With his last breath he cursed his captors.
10 [singular] written a very small amount or a sign of something
breath of
They did everything they could to avoid the slightest breath of scandal.

a breath of air/wind

literary a slight movement of air:
Scarcely a breath of air disturbed the stillness of the day.

➔ with bated breath

at bated

; ➔ draw breath

at draw1 (24)

➔ hold your breath

at hold1 (17)

Dictionary results for "breath"
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