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[breth-ee] /ˈbrɛθ i/
adjective, breathier, breathiest.
(of the voice) characterized by audible or excessive emission of breath.
Origin of breathy
1520-30; breath + -y1
Related forms
breathiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for breathiness
Historical Examples
  • This soon becomes very comfortable, relieves the throat of strain, relieves the tones of breathiness or all idea of forcing.

  • At first they may be quite breathy, but as the vocal bands become accustomed to the new action, the breathiness will disappear.

    The Child-Voice in Singing Francis E. Howard
  • The color rose high in the Girl's cheeks, and her voice took on the thrill and breathiness of amused excitement.

    The Sick-a-Bed Lady Eleanor Hallowell Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for breathiness


adjective breathier, breathiest
(of the speaking voice) accompanied by an audible emission of breath
(of the singing voice) lacking resonance
Derived Forms
breathily, adverb
breathiness, noun
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 breathiness



1520s, "pertaining to breath," from breath + -y (2). Of voices, "full of breath," from 1883. Related: Breathily; breathiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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