breathe: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (brē), [key]
— v., breathed breath•ing.
  1. to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire.
  2. (in speech) to control the outgoing breath in producing voice and speech sounds.
  3. to pause, as for breath; take rest: How about giving me a chance to breathe?
  4. to move gently or blow lightly, as air.
  5. to live; exist: Hardly a man breathes who has not known great sorrow.
  6. to be redolent of.
  7. (of a material) to allow air and moisture to pass through easily: The jacket is comfortable because the fabric breathes.
  8. (of the skin) to absorb oxygen and give off perspiration.
  9. (of a wine) to be exposed to air after being uncorked, in order to develop flavor and bouquet.
  1. to inhale and exhale in respiration.
  2. to exhale: Dragons breathe fire.
  3. to inject as if by breathing; infuse: She breathed life into the party.
  4. to give utterance to; whisper.
  5. to express; manifest.
  6. to allow to rest or recover breath: to breathe a horse.
  7. to deprive of breath; tire; exhaust.
  8. to cause to pant; exercise.
  9. Police from four states were breathing down his neck.
    1. to be close to someone in pursuit; menace; threaten:Police from four states were breathing down his neck.
    2. to watch someone closely so as to supervise or control:If everyone keeps breathing down my neck, how can I get my work done?
  10. to have relief from anxiety, tension, or pressure: Now that the crisis was over, he could breathe freely.
  11. to die: He breathed his last and was buried in the churchyard.
  12. to maintain secrecy; keep a matter confidential: I'll tell you if you promise not to breathe a word.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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