Definition of breathe verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//briːð//
    ; NAmE NAmE//briːð//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they breathe
    BrE BrE//briːð//
    ; NAmE NAmE//briːð//
    he / she / it breathes
    BrE BrE//briːðz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//briːðz//
    past simple breathed
    BrE BrE//briːðd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//briːðd//
    past participle breathed
    BrE BrE//briːðd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//briːðd//
    -ing form breathing
    BrE BrE//ˈbriːðɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbriːðɪŋ//
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  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to take air into your lungs and send it out again through your nose or mouth He breathed deeply before speaking again. The air was so cold we could hardly breathe. She was beginning to breathe more easily. He was breathing heavily after his exertions. breathe something Most people don't realize that they are breathing polluted air.
  2. 2[transitive] breathe something (+ adv./prep.) to send air, smoke or a particular smell out of your mouth He came up close, breathing alcohol fumes all over me.
  3. say quietly
  4. 3[transitive] breathe something | + speech (literary) to say something quietly ‘I'm over here,’ she breathed.
  5. of wine
  6. 4[intransitive] if you allow wine to breathe, you open the bottle and let air get in before you drink it
  7. of cloth/skin
  8. 5[intransitive] if cloth, leather, skin, etc. can breathe, air can move around or through it Cotton clothing allows your skin to breathe.
  9. feeling/quality
  10. 6[transitive] breathe something (formal) to be full of a particular feeling or quality Her performance breathed wit and charm.
  11. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘exhale, steam’): from breath.Extra examples ‘Where are you?’ breathed a voice in the dark. Always breathe through your nose. He breathed in her scent. He breathed the words against her ear. He hardly dared breathe in case they heard him. He was breathing raggedly, mouth open. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I can barely breathe here. I can’t breathe properly—I’m gasping for air! She breathed slowly in and out. She rushed into my office breathing fire and threatening me with a lawyer. The men breathe air that is filtered to remove any dust or gas. They were both breathing hard from the steep climb. Try not to breathe in the fumes. Try to breathe normally. You know I’d never breathe a word to anyone. ‘I’m over here,’ she breathed.Idioms
    breathe (easily/freely) again
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    to feel calm again after something unpleasant or frightening has ended Once he was safely back in prison, she was able to breathe easily again.
    breathe down somebody’s neck
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    (informal) to watch closely what somebody is doing in a way that makes them feel anxious and/or annoyed I can’t get any work done with you breathing down my neck.
    to relax and stop worrying You can rest easy—I'm not going to tell anyone. (literary) to die
    breathe (new) life into something
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    to improve something by introducing new ideas and making people more interested in it The results of their research have breathed new life into the debate.
    live and breathe something
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    to be very enthusiastic about something He just lives and breathes football.
    Phrasal Verbsbreathe inbreathe somethinginbreathe outbreathe somethingout
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: breathe