Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

breathe - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb breathe pronunciation in British English /briːð/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlebreathing
past tensebreathed
past participlebreathed
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to take air into your lungs through your nose or mouth and let it out again
    He held her so tightly she could hardly breathe.
    We can no longer have confidence in the quality of the air we breathe.
    Doctors said he was having difficulty breathing.
    breathe deeply/hard/heavily (=take a lot of air into your lungs): She leant against the door, breathing deeply.
    1. a.
      [transitive] to bring other substances into your mouth or lungs as you breathe
      I don’t want to breathe other people’s smoke.
    2. b.
      [intransitive] to blow air from your mouth onto something
      breathe on: She breathed on her glasses then polished them on her shirt.
  2. 3
    [transitive] literary to say something very quietly


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog