From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishbreathbreath /breθ/ ●●● S3 W2 noun 1 AAIR YOU BREATHE a) [uncountable]BREATHE the air that you send out of your lungs when you breathe Leo could smell the wine on her breath. Let your breath out slowly. b) [uncountable]BREATHE air that you take into your lungs When he reached the top of the stairs, his heart was pounding and he was gasping for breath. c) [countable] an amount of air that you take into your lungs Shaun took a deep breath and dived in. ► Do not confuse the noun breath /breθ/ with the verb breathe /briːð/: She took a deep breath and continued. | I can’t breathe in here!2 → a breath of fresh air3 → don’t hold your breath4 → catch your breath5 → don’t waste your breath6 → take somebody’s breath away7 → under your breath8 → in the same breath9 → with your last/dying breath10 [singular] written a very small amount or a sign of somethingbreath of They did everything they could to avoid the slightest breath of scandal.11 → a breath of air/wind → with bated breath at batedCOLLOCATIONSverbstake a breath (=breathe in)Alex took a deep breath, then jumped into the pool.let your breath out (=breathe out)Let your breath out slowly and relax.hold your breath (=not breathe out for a few seconds or minutes)How long can you hold your breath underwater?be out of breath (=have difficulty breathing after running, hurrying etc)Andrew hurried in, slightly out of breath.be short of breath (=be unable to breathe easily because you are ill, old etc)Near the top of the mountain I started to feel short of breath.gasp/fight for breath (=have difficulty breathing)He was lying on the floor gasping for breath.get your breath back (also catch your breath) (=start breathing normally again)He leant against a tree until he had got his breath back.pause for breathShe talked solidly for five minutes, hardly pausing for breath.draw breath written (=breathe)I hid behind the door, hardly daring to draw breath.adjectivesbad breath (=that smells unpleasant)Smoking gives you bad breath.a deep/long breath (=in which you breathe a lot of air in slowly)She took a deep breath and knocked on the door.a shallow breath (=in which you breathe a small amount of air in)Shallow breaths are often a sign of nervousness.phrasesshortness of breath (=when you are unable to breathe easily)Symptoms include dizziness and shortness of breath.an intake of breath (=when you breathe in very quickly and suddenly, especially because you are surprised)He gave a sharp intake of breath.His first response was a sharp intake of breath.
Examples from the Corpusbreath• His teeth were rotten and he had bad breath.• She took a few deep breaths and told herself that she could handle him.• Two minutes and twenty seconds for Shirley, fourteen minutes for Marylin, and for Virginia, a few breaths.• To get rid of garlic breath try strong coffee, cloves, honey, yogurt, or parsley.• A slight popping, as if she had been holding her breath.• Her breath caught as a strange little frisson of excitement slid from her throat to her toes at the thought.• The boy laughed at them for running and being out of breath for nothing.• I could feel the horse's breath on the back of my neck.• Seconds later, the breath once again hissed into her chest, this time with painful intensity.• It was so cold they could see their breath.• She tensed; very softy he blew into her ear, until she quivered as his warm breath passed through her.• How long can you hold your breath underwater?• I can smell alcohol on your breath.Origin breath Old English bræth