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.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
breather (ˈbriːðə)
1.  informal a short pause for rest
2.  a person who breathes in a specified way: a deep breather
3.  a vent in a container to equalize internal and external pressure, such as the pipe in the crankcase of an internal-combustion engine
4.  a small opening in a room, container, cover, etc, supplying air for ventilation

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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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Example sentences
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.
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