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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

My Strange Passage From Suspected School Shooter to Prom Queen Gina Tron January 27, 2013
Ping-Pong Diplomacy Not An Option? Try Ding-Dong Diplomacy Kevin Bleyer January 11, 2014
John Grisham’s First Short Story: Part Two John Grisham October 25, 2009
The National-Security Diaper Scramble Philip Shishkin April 24, 2013
8 Ways to Exercise While You Commute Doree Shafrir February 17, 2010

Historical Examples

The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
The Works of Rudyard Kipling: One Volume Edition Rudyard Kipling
The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
English Synonyms and Antonyms James Champlin Fernald

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


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