Advertisement

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.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of breath from WordNet

breath (n.)
the process of taking in and expelling air during breathing;
he took a deep breath and dived into the pool
he was fighting to his last breath
breath (n.)
the air that is inhaled and exhaled in respiration;
his sour breath offended her
breath (n.)
a short respite;
Synonyms: breather / breathing place / breathing space / breathing spell / breathing time
breath (n.)
an indirect suggestion;
not a breath of scandal ever touched her
Synonyms: hint / intimation
breath (n.)
a slight movement of the air;
there wasn't a breath of air in the room
From wordnet.princeton.edu