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[bree-th er] /ˈbri ðər/
a pause, as for breath.
vigorous exercise that causes heavy breathing.
a person who breathes.
a vent in a container or covering, as in a casing for machinery or in a storage tank, to equalize interior and exterior pressure, permit entry of air, escape of fumes, or the like.
a device for providing air from the atmosphere to submerged or otherwise sealed-off persons, internal-combustion engines, etc.:
the snorkel breather of a submarine.
Origin of breather
1350-1400; Middle English brethere. See breathe, -er1
1. rest, break, time-out, recess, intermission. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for breather
  • Instead, take the time for a short rest, a garden walk or a breather outside.
  • And then, swiftly and remarkably, the storm took a breather.
  • Of course a turtle is an air breather, it has to come up for air at some point.
  • One way or another, markets have given euro-zone leaders space for a breather.
  • In any event, the solution will not come from a fire breather.
  • Please take a breather, go to the bathroom and relieve yourself.
  • They have more vitality and clarity than the average breather.
  • Sometimes clients would ask him to give them a breather and not call so often.
  • Stocks end mixed as traders take breather before earnings.
  • The phase-sequential continuous-flow mask looks similar to a general aviation re-breather.
British Dictionary definitions for breather


(informal) a short pause for rest
a person who breathes in a specified way: a deep breather
a vent in a container to equalize internal and external pressure, such as the pipe in the crankcase of an internal-combustion engine
a small opening in a room, container, cover, etc, supplying air for ventilation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for breather

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 1901.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for breather



A person who makes harassing telephone calls and merely breathes, rather than talking, into the mouthpiece (1970s+)

Related Terms

heavy breather, mouth-breather

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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