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[res-puh-rey-shuh n] /ˌrɛs pəˈreɪ ʃən/
the act of respiring; inhalation and exhalation of air; breathing.
  1. the sum total of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which oxygen is conveyed to tissues and cells, and the oxidation products, carbon dioxide and water, are given off.
  2. an analogous chemical process, as in muscle cells or in anaerobic bacteria, occurring in the absence of oxygen.
Origin of respiration
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English respiracioun < Latin respīrātiōn- (stem of respīrātiō) a breathing out, equivalent to respīrāt(us) (past participle of respīrāre to respire) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
respirational, adjective
prerespiration, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for respiration
  • It is the normal by-product of human respiration and the burning of fossil fuels-probably the main culprit in global warming.
  • Oxygen drives the process of respiration, which provides our cells with energy.
  • The system monitors subtle changes in seven streams of real-time data, such as respiration, heart rate and blood pressure.
  • The receiver also contains sensors that monitor physiological parameters such as heart rate, respiration, and bodily movement.
  • Walking increases your respiration by a factor of two to three.
  • In such overdoses, respiration must be maintained by artificial means until the drugs are removed from the body.
  • Our one natural advantage in the wild was our ability to vent heat by perspiration, instead of respiration.
  • This type of respiration is also often seen after morphine administration.
British Dictionary definitions for respiration


the process in living organisms of taking in oxygen from the surroundings and giving out carbon dioxide (external respiration). In terrestrial animals this is effected by breathing air
the chemical breakdown of complex organic substances, such as carbohydrates and fats, that takes place in the cells and tissues of animals and plants, during which energy is released and carbon dioxide produced (internal respiration)
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 respiration

late 14c., from Latin respirationem (nominative respiratio) "breathing, respiration," noun of action from past participle stem of respirare (see respire).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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respiration in Medicine

respiration res·pi·ra·tion (rěs'pə-rā'shən)
Abbr. R

  1. The act or process of inhaling and exhaling; breathing. Also called ventilation.

  2. The act or process by which an organism without lungs, such as a fish or plant, exchanges gases with its environment.

  3. The oxidative process occurring within living cells by which the chemical energy of organic molecules is released in a series of metabolic steps involving the consumption of oxygen and the liberation of carbon dioxide and water.

  4. Any of various analogous metabolic processes by which organisms, such as fungi, obtain energy from organic molecules.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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respiration in Science

  1. The process by which organisms exchange gases, especially oxygen and carbon dioxide, with the environment. In air-breathing vertebrates, respiration takes place in the lungs. In fish and many invertebrates, respiration takes place through the gills. Respiration in green plants occurs during photosynthesis.

  2. See cellular respiration.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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respiration in Culture

respiration definition

The conversion of oxygen by living things into the energy by which they continue life. Respiration is part of metabolism.

Note: Carbon dioxide is a waste product of respiration.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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