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[ri-spahyuh r] /rɪˈspaɪər/
verb (used without object), respired, respiring.
to inhale and exhale air for the purpose of maintaining life; breathe.
to breathe freely again, after anxiety, trouble, etc.
verb (used with object), respired, respiring.
to breathe; inhale and exhale.
to exhale.
Origin of respire
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English respiren < Latin respīrāre, equivalent to re- re- + spīrāre to breathe; see spirit
Related forms
prerespire, verb (used with object), prerespired, prerespiring.
unrespired, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for respire
  • The trait in amphibians is likely an adaptation to life between water and land and their ability to respire through the skin.
  • We were told that animals perspire and respire and plants transpire.
  • As the fish respire, their gills excrete ammonia into the water.
  • Microbial agents are used to naturally respire the selenium compounds selenate and selenite.
  • After collection, samples continue to respire and to be subject to microbial decay.
  • As the water in the honey evaporates and the bees respire, the hive becomes humid and warm.
  • As temperatures rise, plants begin to respire and can quickly deplete their energy reserves.
  • They are heterotrophs that normally respire by aerobic means.
British Dictionary definitions for respire


to inhale and exhale (air); breathe
(intransitive) to undergo the process of respiration
(literary) to breathe again in a relaxed or easy manner, as after stress or exertion
Word Origin
C14: from Latin rēspīrāre to exhale, from re- + spīrāre to breathe; see spirit1
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 respire

late 14c., from Old French respirer (12c.), from Latin respirare "breathe again, breathe in and out," from re- "again" (see re-) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit (n.)). Related: Respired; respiring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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respire in Medicine

respire re·spire (rĭ-spīr')
v. re·spired, re·spir·ing, re·spires

  1. To breathe in and out; inhale and exhale.

  2. To undergo the metabolic process of respiration.

  3. To breathe easily again, as after a period of exertion.

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