American English

Definition of breathe verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they breathe
    he / she / it breathes
    past simple breathed
    -ing form breathing
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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 the sprint. 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 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. Idioms
    breathe (easy/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 easy again.
    breathe down somebody's neck (informal)
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    to watch closely what someone 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.
    breathe/rest easy
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    to relax and stop worrying You can rest easy—I'm not going to tell anyone.
    breathe your last (literary)
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    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 Learner's Dictionary entry: breathe