Definition of air noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//eə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//er//
    Pieces of music
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  1. 1  [uncountable] the mixture of gases that surrounds the earth and that we breathe air pollution Let's go out for some fresh air. I need to put some air in my tyres. currents of warm air whales coming up for air (= in order to breathe) The act lays down a minimum standard for air quality.
  2. space
  3. 2  [uncountable] (also the air) the space above the ground or that is around things I kicked the ball high in/into the air. Spicy smells wafted through the air. Music filled the night air. see also open air
  4. for planes
  5. 3  [uncountable] the space above the earth where planes fly It only takes three hours by air (= in a plane). air travel/traffic The temple was clearly visible from the air. A surprise air attack (= from aircraft) was launched at night.
  6. impression
  7. 4[singular] the particular feeling or impression that is given by somebody/something; the way somebody does something The room had an air of luxury. She looked at him with a defiant air. There was an air of complete confidence about her.
  8. tune
  9. 5[countable] (old-fashioned) (often used in the title of a piece of music) a tune Bach’s Air on a G string See related entries: Pieces of music
  10. behaviour
  11. 6airs [plural] (disapproving) a way of behaving that shows that somebody thinks that they are more important, etc. than they really are I hate the way she puts on airs.
  12. Word OriginMiddle English (in senses (1-3) of noun): from Old French air, from Latin aer, from Greek aēr, denoting the gas. Senses 4 and 6 () of the noun are from French air, probably from Old French aire ‘site, disposition’, from Latin ager, agr- ‘field’ (influenced by senses 1-3). Sense (5) of the noun comes from Italian aria, from Latin aer ‘air’.Extra examples He drew in another breath of air. He had an air of mystery about him. He leaned over to Melissa with an air of confidentiality. He punched the air in triumph. I hate the way she puts on airs. I kicked the ball high into the air. I sat for a moment, inhaling the fresh forest air. It only takes three hours by air. It’s difficult carrying such heavy loads in the thin air of the mountains. Land crabs breathe air and cannot swim. Nothing moved in the still air. She gulped in the fresh mountain air. She was gasping for air as she ran out of the burning house. Spicy smells wafted through the air. Suddenly a scream pierced the air. The air was sweet with incense. The air was thick with cigarette smoke. The argument helped to clear the air between them. The cool night air wafted in the open windows. The dog stretched and sniffed the air. The hideout is clearly visible from the air. The market is held in the open air. The tang of some wild herb hung in the air. The two planes collided in mid-air. There are regulatory requirements for clean air and water. They have developed an engine powered by compressed air. Three buildings were bombed last night in an air strike on the city. We are cleared by Air Traffic Control to taxi and take off. We felt a blast of cold air as she opened the door. We need some fresh air in this stuffy room! You have an air of authority. equipment to monitor air quality the musty smell of stale air the polluted air of our cities warm currents of air A surprise air attack was launched at night. air travel/​traffic/​faresIdioms (British English, disapproving) a way of behaving that shows that somebody thinks that they are more important, etc. than they really are synonym air Even when he became a star he didn’t have any airs and graces.
    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. See related entries: Exercise
    (build) castles in the air
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    (to have) plans or dreams that are not likely to happen or come true As a child he would wander round the boatyards, building castles in the air about owning a boat one day.
    to improve a difficult or tense situation by talking about worries, doubts, etc.
    disappear, vanish, etc. into thin air
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    to disappear suddenly in a mysterious way She can’t just have vanished into thin air.
    (informal) used to refer to an estimate or method of doing something that is not very accurate or scientific and partly based on guessing It isn’t an exact science—it’s a kind of finger in the air thing. ‘It’s all a bit finger in the air,’ admitted a spokesman. to feel very happy Most couples feel they are walking on air on their wedding day. See related entries: Happiness felt by a number of people to exist or to be happening There's romance in the air. broadcasting or not broadcasting on television or radio We will be back on air tomorrow morning at 7. The programme was taken off the air over the summer. See related entries: Radio broadcasting from nowhere or nothing, as if by magic Unfortunately, I can’t just conjure up the money out of thin air!
    pluck something out of the air
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    to say a name, number, etc. without thinking about it, especially in answer to a question I just plucked a figure out of the air and said : ‘Would £1 000 seem reasonable to you?’
    not yet decided Our travel plans are still up in the air.
    with your nose in the air
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    (informal) in a way that is unfriendly and suggests that you think that you are better than other people
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: air