1. The air inhaled and exhaled in respiration, air which, in the process of respiration, has parted with oxygen and has received carbonic acid, aqueous vapor, warmth, etc. "Melted as breath into the wind." (Shak)
2. The act of breathing naturally or freely; the power or capacity to breathe freely; as, I am out of breath.
3. The power of respiration, and hence, life. "Thou takest away their breath, they die." (Ps. Civ. 29)
4. Time to breathe; respite; pause. "Give me some breath, some little pause." (Shak)
5. A single respiration, or the time of making it; a single act; an instant. "He smiles and he frowns in a breath." (Dryden)
6. That which gives or strengthens life. "The earthquake voice of victory, To thee the breath of life." (Byron)
7. A single word; the slightest effort; a triffle. "A breath can make them, as a breath has made." (Goldsmith)
8. A very slight breeze; air in gentle motion. "Calm and unruffled as a summer's sea, when not a breath of wind flies o'er its surface." (Addison)
9. Fragrance; exhalation; odour; perfume. "The breath of flowers." (Bacon)
10. Gentle exercise, causing a quicker respiration. "An after dinner's breath." (Shak) Out of breath, breathless, exhausted; breathing with difficulty. Under one's breath, in low tones.
Origin: OE. Breth, breeth, AS. Br odour, scent, breath; cf. OHG. Bradam steam, vapor, breath, G. Brodem, and possibly E. Brawn, and Breed.
(01 Mar 1998)