Etymology
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breath (n.)
Old English bræð "odor, scent, stink, exhalation, vapor" (Old English word for "air exhaled from the lungs" was æðm), from Proto-Germanic *bræthaz "smell, exhalation" (source also of Old High German bradam, German Brodem "breath, steam"), perhaps from a PIE root *gwhre- "to breathe; smell."

The original long vowel (preserved in breathe) has become short. Meaning "ability to breathe," hence "life" is from c. 1300. Meaning "a single act of breathing" is from late 15c.; sense of "the duration of a breath, a moment, a short time" is from early 13c. Meaning "a breeze, a movement of free air" is from late 14c.
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breath-taking (adj.)
also breathtaking, "thrilling, surprising," 1867, from breath + present participle of take (v.). Phrase take (one's) breath away "leave breathless with astonishment or delight" is from 1864. Breathtaking (n.) "act of taking breaths or a breath" is from 1620s. Related: Breathtakingly.
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breathy (adj.)
1520s, "pertaining to breath," from breath + -y (2). Of voices, "full of breath," from 1883. Related: Breathily; breathiness.
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breathalyzer (n.)
also breathalyser, 1958, from breath + analyzer; an earlier name for it was drunkometer (1934).
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breathless (adj.)
late 14c., "unable to breathe," from breath + -less. Meaning "out of breath, panting" is from mid-15c. Also used from 1590s in the sense "dead." Meaning "forgetting to breathe" due to excitement, awe, anticipation, etc. is recorded from 1765. Related: Breathlessly; breathlessness. Breathful was used late 16c.
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breathe (v.)

"to draw air into and expel it from the lungs; to inhale and exhale (a scent, etc.)," c. 1200, not in Old English, but it retains the original Old English vowel of its source word, breath. To breathe (one's) last "die" is from 1590s. To breathe down the back of (someone's) neck "be close behind" is by 1946. Related: Breathed; breathing.

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breather (n.)
c. 1600, "a living creature, one who breathes," agent noun from breathe. Meaning "spell of exercise to stimulate breathing" is from 1836; that of "a rest to recover breath" is from 1882.
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atman (n.)
in Hindu philosophy, the self or soul, 1785, from Sanskrit atma "essence, breath, soul," from PIE *etmen "breath" (a root found in Sanskrit and Germanic; source also of Old English æðm, Dutch adem, Old High German atum "breath," Old English eþian, Dutch ademen "to breathe").
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halitosis (n.)
"bad breath," 1874, coined in Modern Latin from Latin halitus "breath, exhalation, steam, vapor" (which is related to halare "to breathe, emit vapor") + Greek-based noun suffix -osis.
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