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the air inhaled and exhaled in respiration.
respiration, especially as necessary to life.
life; vitality.
the ability to breathe easily and normally:
She stopped to regain her breath.
time to breathe; pause or respite:
Give him a little breath.
a single inhalation or respiration:
He took a deep breath.
the brief time required for a single respiration; a moment or instant:
They gave it to her and took it away all in a breath.
a slight suggestion, hint, or whisper:
The breath of slander never touched her.
a light current of air.

the air drawn into or expelled from the lungs to provide the generative source for most speech sounds.
the audible expiration generating voiceless speech sounds, as (p), (k), (sh), etc.

moisture emitted in respiration, especially when condensed and visible.
a trivial circumstance; trifle.
an odorous exhalation, or the air impregnated by it.
Obsolete. exhalation or vapor.
below / under one’s breath, in a low voice or whisper; sotto voce:
He protested under his breath because he was afraid to speak up.
catch one’s breath, to pause or rest before continuing an activity or beginning a new one; resume regular breathing:
Let me catch my breath before I begin anything new.
in the same breath, at virtually the same time; almost simultaneously:
She lost her temper and apologized in the same breath.
out of breath, exhausted or gasping for breath, in consequence of an effort; breathless:
After climbing to the top of the tower, we were so out of breath that we had to sit down.
save one’s breath, to avoid futile talk or discussion:
We were told to save our breath because the matter had already been decided.
take away one’s breath, to make one as if breathless with astonishment; surprise; stun:
The sheer beauty of the sea took away my breath.
Also, take one’s breath away.
Contemporary Examples

Heart Disease Poses Surprising Threat to New Moms Jennifer Block June 12, 2011
The Man in Cain’s Smoking Video David A. Graham October 24, 2011
Threesome Marriages Abby Ellin May 6, 2009
If You Read This Book, You Will Not Get Married Melissa Holbrook Pierson August 10, 2012
World Cup Primer Joshua Robinson June 11, 2010

Historical Examples

A Love Story Reversed Edward Bellamy
Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
The Evolution of the Dragon G. Elliot Smith
The Old Manse (From “Mosses From An Old Manse”) Nathaniel Hawthorne
Captain Desmond, V.C. Maud Diver

the intake and expulsion of air during respiration
the air inhaled or exhaled during respiration
a single respiration or inhalation of air, etc
the vapour, heat, or odour of exhaled air: his breath on the window melted the frost
a slight gust of air
a short pause or rest: take a breath for five minutes
a brief time: it was done in a breath
a suggestion or slight evidence; suspicion: a breath of scandal
a whisper or soft sound
life, energy, or vitality: the breath of new industry
(phonetics) the passage of air through the completely open glottis without vibration of the vocal cords, as in exhaling or pronouncing fricatives such as (f) or (h) or stops such as (p) or (k) Compare voice (sense 11)
a breath of fresh air, a refreshing change from what one is used to
catch one’s breath, to rest until breathing is normal, esp after exertion
hold one’s breath, to wait expectantly or anxiously
in the same breath, done or said at the same time
out of breath, gasping for air after exertion
save one’s breath, to refrain from useless talk
take one’s breath away, to overwhelm with surprise, etc
under one’s breath, below one’s breath, in a quiet voice or whisper

In addition to the idiom beginning with


Read Also:

  • Breath-analyzer

    an instrument consisting of a small bag or tube filled with chemically treated crystals, into which a sample of a motorist’s breath is taken as a test for intoxication.

  • Breath-group

    a sequence of sounds articulated in the course of a single exhalation; an utterance or part of an utterance produced between pauses for breath. Historical Examples Modern Spanish Lyrics Various

  • Breath-of-fresh-air

    New and refreshing, as in His arrival was like a breath of fresh air. This term transfers the idea of fresh air to a new approach or welcome arrival, and has largely replaced both the earlier breath of heaven and breath of spring, although the latter is still heard occasionally. [ Mid-1800s ]

  • Breathtaking

    thrillingly beautiful, remarkable, astonishing, exciting, or the like: a breathtaking performance. Contemporary Examples The Best Books by U.S. Presidents Allen Barra February 17, 2013 Fresh Picks Chris Rendell October 3, 2011 The Most Stunning View Ever of Planets Being Born Matthew R. Francis November 8, 2014 Mark McKinnon: Backstage at the Bush Movie Mark McKinnon […]

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