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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 breathy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His tones are forced, harsh, and breathy; they lack musical quality.

    The Psychology of Singing David C. Taylor
  • The big man's voice had reached the high, breathy pitch of a fife.

    Out Like a Light Gordon Randall Garrett
  • "Come away with yuh, Mary Cregan," Mrs. Byrne cried, in her breathy huskiness.

  • But, this time, the monosyllable was breathy, and not sharp.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • And because of the fact that no breath escapes without setting the cords in vibration, the tone is clear, and not "breathy."

    Essentials in Conducting Karl Wilson Gehrkens
British Dictionary definitions for breathy


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 breathy

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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