American English

Definition of breath noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    breath

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//brɛθ//
     
     
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  1. 1 [uncountable] the air that you take into your lungs and send out again His breath smelled of garlic. bad breath (= that smells bad) She was very short of breath (= had difficulty breathing). While there is breath left in my body, I will refuse.
  2. 2[countable] an amount of air that enters the lungs at one time to take a deep breath He recited the whole poem in one breath. We had to stop for a breath before we got to the top.
  3. 3[singular] breath of something (formal) a small amount of something; slight evidence of something a breath of suspicion/scandal
  4. 4[singular] a breath of air/wind (literary) a slight movement of air
  5. Idioms
    a breath of (fresh) air
     
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    clean air breathed in after being indoors or in a dirty atmosphere We'll get a breath of fresh air at lunchtime.
    a breath of fresh air
     
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    a person, thing, or place that is new and different and therefore interesting and exciting
    the breath of life to/for somebody (literary)
     
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    an essential part of a person's existence Playing the violin has been the breath of life to her for over 20 years.
    catch your breath
     
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    to breathe normally again after running or doing some tiring exercise
      catch your breath
       
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    1. 1to stop breathing for a moment because of fear, shock, etc.
    2. 2to breathe normally again after running or doing some tiring exercise
      draw (a)breath
       
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    1. 1to stop doing something and rest She talks all the time and hardly stops to draw breath.
    2. 2(literary) to live; to be alive He was as kind a man as ever drew breath.
      hold your breath
       
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    1. 1to stop breathing for a short time Hold your breath and count to ten.
    2. 2to be anxious while you are waiting for something that you are worried about He held his breath while the results were read out.
    3. 3(informal) people say don't hold your breath! to emphasize that something will take a long time or may not happen She said she'd do it this week, but don't hold your breath!
    in the same breath
     
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    immediately after saying something that suggests the opposite intention or meaning He praised my work and in the same breath told me I would have to leave.
    his/her last/dying breath
     
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    the last moment of a person's life
    out of breath
     
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    having difficulty breathing after exercise We were out of breath after only five minutes.
    save your breath (informal)
     
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    used to tell someone that it is not worth wasting time and effort saying something because it will not change anything Save your breath—you'll never persuade her.
    say something, speak, etc. under your breath
     
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    to say something quietly so that people cannot hear “Liar!” he murmured under his breath.
    take somebody's breath away
     
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    to be very surprising or beautiful My first view of the island from the air took my breath away.
    waste your breath
     
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    to say something that no one takes any notice of
    with bated breath (formal)
     
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    feeling very anxious or excited We waited with bated breath for the winner to be announced.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: breath