- 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[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[singular] breath of something (formal) a small amount of something; slight evidence of something a breath of suspicion/scandal
- 4[singular] a breath of air/wind (literary) a slight movement of air Idioms
- 1to stop breathing for a moment because of fear, shock, etc.
- 2to breathe normally again after running or doing some tiring exercise
- 1to stop doing something and rest She talks all the time and hardly stops to draw breath.
- 2(literary) to live; to be alive He was as kind a man as ever drew breath.
- 1to stop breathing for a short time Hold your breath and count to ten.
- 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(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!
nounjump to other results
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) airjump to other results
a person, thing, or place that is new and different and therefore interesting and exciting
a breath of fresh airjump to other results
an essential part of a person's existence Playing the violin has been the breath of life to her for over 20 years. to breathe normally again after running or doing some tiring exercise
the breath of life to/for somebody (literary)jump to other results
draw (a)breathjump to other results
hold your breathjump to other results
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.
in the same breathjump to other results
the last moment of a person's life
his/her last/dying breathjump to other results
having difficulty breathing after exercise We were out of breath after only five minutes.
out of breathjump to other results
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.
save your breath (informal)jump to other results
to say something quietly so that people cannot hear “Liar!” he murmured under his breath.
say something, speak, etc. under your breathjump to other results
to be very surprising or beautiful My first view of the island from the air took my breath away.
take somebody's breath awayjump to other results
to say something that no one takes any notice of
waste your breathjump to other results
feeling very anxious or excited We waited with bated breath for the winner to be announced.
with bated breath (formal)jump to other results