Meaning of “breath” in the English Dictionary

american-english dictionary

"breath" in British English

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breathnoun

uk /breθ/ us /breθ/

B1 [ U ] the air that goes into and out of your lungs:

Her breath smelled of garlic.
She was dizzy and short of breath (= unable to breathe in enough air).
He burst into the room, red-faced and out of breath (= unable to breathe comfortably because of tiredness or excitement).
catch your breath also get your breath (back)

C1 to pause or rest for a short time until you can breathe comfortably or regularly again:

I had to stop running to catch my breath.
draw breath

to breathe:

Without pausing to draw breath she told me everything.

to pause for a short time between doing one thing and the next:

Give me a minute to draw breath, won't you?
hold your breath

B2 to keep air in your lungs and not release it so that you need more:

How long can you hold your breath under water?

C2 to wait for something to happen, often feeling anxious:

Fans held their breath waiting for the final whistle.
take a breath

B2 to breathe air into your lungs (as a single action):

The doctor told me to take a deep breath (= breathe in a lot of air).
a breath of air

the smallest amount of wind:

There wasn't a breath of air in the room.

a short period of time spent outside:

I'm just going out for a breath of (fresh) air - I won't be long.

More examples

  • Her breath reeked of garlic.
  • I heard his breath rasping in his chest.
  • The disease may cause cold sweating, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath .
  • She paused to get her breath back and then carried on jogging.
  • It's terribly smoky in here - I'm just going out for a breath of fresh air.

(Definition of “breath” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"breath" in American English

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breathnoun [ C/U ]

us /breθ/

the air that you take into and let out of your lungs:

[ C usually sing ] She drew/took a deep breath.
[ U ] He seemed a little out of breath (= to be breathing too fast).
[ C usually sing ] As he jumped in the pool, he held his breath (= delayed releasing the air in his lungs).

(Definition of “breath” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)