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a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and minute amounts of other gases that surrounds the earth and forms its atmosphere.
a stir in the atmosphere; a light breeze.
overhead space; sky:
The planes filled the air.
circulation; publication; publicity:
to give air to one’s theories.
the general character or complexion of anything; appearance:
His early work had an air of freshness and originality.
the peculiar look, appearance, and bearing of a person:
There is an air of mystery about him.
airs, affected or unnatural manner; manifestation of pride or vanity; assumed haughtiness:
He acquired airs that were insufferable to his friends.

a tune; melody.
the soprano or treble part.
an .
Also, ayre. an Elizabethan art song.

aircraft as a means of transportation:
to arrive by air; to ship goods by air.
Informal. air conditioning or an air-conditioning system:
The price includes tires, radio, and air.

(during an airborne stunt) the height between the ground and an athlete or an athlete with his or her equipment:
The BMX course was designed for riders to get good air.
such a jump or other airborne stunt:
The snowboarder took first place with four clean airs.

Radio. the medium through which radio waves are transmitted.
Archaic. .
to expose to the air; give access to the ; ventilate (often followed by out):
We air the bedrooms every day.
to expose ostentatiously; bring to public notice; display:
to air one’s opinions; to air one’s theories.
to broadcast or televise.
to be exposed to the open air (often followed by out):
Open the window and let the room air out.
to be broadcast or televised.
operating by means of or by acting upon air:
an air drill; an air pump.
of or relating to or to aviation:
air industry.
taking place in the air; :
air war.
clear the air, to eliminate dissension, ambiguity, or tension from a discussion, situation, etc.:
The staff meeting was intended to help clear the air.
get some air,

to take a break from an unpleasant encounter or stifling environment:
She walked away from the argument to get some air.
to take a short rest.

get the air, Informal.

to be rejected, as by a lover.
to be dismissed, as by an employer:
He had worked only a few days when he got the air.

give (someone) the air, Informal.

to reject, as a lover:
He was bitter because she gave him the air.
to dismiss, as an employee.

in the air, in circulation; current:
There’s a rumor in the air that we’re moving to a new location.
into thin air, completely out of sight or reach:
He vanished into thin air.
off the air,

not broadcasting:
The station goes off the air at midnight.
not broadcast; out of operation as a broadcast:
The program went off the air years ago.

on the air, in the act of broadcasting; being broadcast:
The program will be going on the air in a few seconds.
put on airs, to assume an affected or haughty manner:
As their fortune increased, they began to put on airs.
take the air,

to go out-of-doors; take a short walk or ride.
Slang. to leave, especially hurriedly.
to begin broadcasting.

up in the air,

Also, in the air. undecided or unsettled:
The contract is still up in the air.
Informal. angry; perturbed:
There is no need to get up in the air over a simple mistake.

walk / tread on air, to feel very happy; be elated.
a region in N Niger, in the Sahara: low massif and oases. About 30,000 sq. mi. (77,700 sq. km).
Contemporary Examples

That How I Met Your Mother airs on Monday nights is both a blessing and a curse.
The Best Show Nobody’s Watching Miriam Datskovsky November 9, 2008

British TV currently airs not one but two highly rated sitcoms depicting Jewish family life.
What U.S. Jews Don’t Get About European Anti-Semitism Jonathan Freedland January 13, 2013

LinkTV, which airs Borgen, is available on Dish and DirecTV, and also streams the episodes online.
‘Forbrydelsen,’ ‘Borgen,’ ‘The Bridge’: The Rise of Nordic Noir TV Jace Lacob June 19, 2012

“This fellow seems real—no airs about him,” said Ken Hepworth, who was hoping Santorum would stop by his table.
Santorum’s New Hampshire Expectations Plummet as Iowa Glow Wears Off Lois Romano January 9, 2012

Go to FX now and start catching up (the first five episodes are available there; the sixth airs on FX tonight).
‘You’re the Worst’: TV’s Best Couple Is Awful and Perfect for Each Other Jason Lynch August 20, 2014

Historical Examples

The airs generally are plaintive and monotonous, and have a sad and weary sound.
The Women of the Arabs Henry Harris Jessup

So I’m not agoin’ to put on no airs as if I was a fine lady.
Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald

She behaved in a modest manner and put on no airs, for did she not know that she was dressed in the latest fashion?
Sandman’s Goodnight Stories Abbie Phillips Walker

But, Cousin Eustace, you must put off your airs, and come with us to the drawing-room.
The Three Golden Apples Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is a masterpiece; all the airs and graces of the prima donna he imitates with a true spirit of burlesque.
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, December 11, 1841 Various

plural noun
affected manners intended to impress others (esp in the phrases give oneself airs, put on airs)
the mixture of gases that forms the earth’s atmosphere. At sea level dry air has a density of 1.226 kilograms per cubic metre and consists of 78.08 per cent nitrogen, 20.95 per cent oxygen, 0.93 per cent argon, 0.03 per cent carbon dioxide, with smaller quantities of ozone and inert gases; water vapour varies between 0 and 4 per cent and in industrial areas sulphur gases may be present as pollutants
the space above and around the earth; sky related adjective aerial
breeze; slight wind
public expression; utterance: to give air to one’s complaints
a distinctive quality: an air of mystery
a person’s distinctive appearance, manner, or bearing

a simple tune for either vocal or instrumental performance
another word for aria

transportation in aircraft (esp in the phrase by air)
an archaic word for breath (sense 1), breath (sense 2), breath (sense 3)
(Austral, informal) the height gained when getting airborne in surfing, snowboarding, etc
clear the air, to rid a situation of tension or discord by settling misunderstandings, etc
(slang) give someone the air, to reject or dismiss someone
in the air

in circulation; current
in the process of being decided; unsettled

into thin air, leaving no trace behind
off the air, not in the act of broadcasting or being broadcast on radio or television
on the air, in the act of broadcasting or being broadcast on radio or television
out of thin air, from thin air, suddenly and unexpectedly
take the air, to go out of doors, as for a short walk or ride
up in the air

(informal) agitated or excited

walk on air, to feel elated or exhilarated
(modifier) (astrology) of or relating to a group of three signs of the zodiac, Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius Compare earth (sense 10), fire (sense 24), water (sense 12)
to expose or be exposed to the air so as to cool or freshen; ventilate: to air a room
to expose or be exposed to warm or heated air so as to dry: to air linen
(transitive) to make known publicly; display; publicize: to air one’s opinions
(intransitive) (of a television or radio programme) to be broadcast
All India Radio
a mountainous region of N central Niger, in the Sahara, rising to 1500 m (5000 ft): a former native kingdom. Area: about 77 700 sq km (30 000 sq miles) Also called Azbine, Asben

c.1300, “invisible gases that make up the atmosphere,” from Old French air “atmosphere, breeze, weather” (12c.), from Latin aerem (nominative aer) “air, lower atmosphere, sky,” from Greek aer (genitive aeros) “air” (related to aenai “to blow, breathe”), of unknown origin, possibly from a base *awer- and thus related to aeirein “to raise” and arteria “windpipe, artery” (see aorta) on notion of “lifting, that which rises.” In Homer mostly “thick air, mist;” later “air” as one of the four elements.

Words for “air” in Indo-European languages tend to be associated with wind, brightness, sky. In English, air Replaced native lyft, luft (see loft (n.)). To be in the air “in general awareness” is from 1875; up in the air “uncertain, doubtful” is from 1752. To build castles in the air is from 1590s (in 17c. English had airmonger “one preoccupied with visionary projects”). Broadcasting sense (e.g. on the air) first recorded 1927. To give (someone) the air “dismiss” is from 1900. Air pollution is attested by 1870.

1590s, “manner, appearance” (e.g. an air of mystery); 1650s, “assumed manner, affected appearance” (especially in phrase put on airs, 1781), from French air “look, appearance, mien, bearing, tone” (Old French aire “reality, essence, nature, descent, extraction,” 12c.; cf. debonair), from Latin ager “place, field” (see acre) on notion of “place of origin.”

But some French sources connect this Old French word with the source of air (n.1), and it also is possible these senses in English developed from or were influenced by air (n.1); cf. sense development of atmosphere and Latin spiritus “breath, breeze,” also “high spirit, pride,” and the extended senses of anima.

“melody, tune,” 1580s, from Italian aria (see aria).

“to expose to open air,” 1520s, from air (n.1). Figurative sense of “to expose, make public” is from 1610s of objects, 1862 of opinions, grievances, etc. Meaning “to broadcast” (originally on radio) is from 1933. Related: Aired; airing.

air (âr)

A colorless, odorless, tasteless, gaseous mixture, approximately 78 percent nitrogen and approximately 21 percent oxygen with lesser amounts of argon, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, neon, helium, and other gases.

This mixture, with varying amounts of moisture and particulate matter, enveloping Earth; the atmosphere.

Any of various respiratory gases. No longer in technical use.

The colorless, odorless, tasteless mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth. Air consists of about 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen, with the remaining part made up mainly of argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium, methane, and krypton in decreasing order of volume. Air also contains varying amounts of water vapor, particulate matter such as dust and soot, and chemical pollutants.

Related Terms

put on airs


To broadcast by radio or television: toair a new miniseries

Related Terms

a bear in the air, dance on air, full of hot air, get the air, give someone the air, go up in the air, grab a handful of air, hot air, suck air, up in the air
Aerometric Information Retrieval System
American Institutes for Research

the atmosphere, as opposed to the higher regions of the sky (1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 9:2; 16:17). This word occurs once as the rendering of the Hebrew _ruah_ (Job 41:16); elsewhere it is the rendering of _shamaiyim_, usually translated “heavens.” The expression “to speak into the air” (1 Cor. 14:9) is a proverb denoting to speak in vain, as to “beat the air” (1 Cor. 9:26) denotes to labour in vain.

In addition to the idiom beginning with
also see:

breath of fresh air
castles in the air
clear the air
give someone the air
hot air
in the air
into (out of) thin air
nose in the air
off the air
put on airs
up in the air
walk on air
wash (air) one’s dirty linen


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  • Airth

    a direction. to point out the way; direct; guide. Historical Examples I say, Timotheus, what on airth be ye a dreaming of this bright mornin’ ‘stead er gittin’ ready fer school? Randy and Her Friends Amy Brooks What on airth should the boy wan’t to break your bones for, let alone killin’ on you? Freaks […]

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    a direction. to point out the way; direct; guide. noun (Scot) a direction or point of the compass, esp the direction of the wind; quarter; region

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