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[hweez, weez] /ʰwiz, wiz/
verb (used without object), wheezed, wheezing.
to breathe with difficulty and with a whistling sound:
Asthma caused him to wheeze.
to make a sound resembling difficult breathing:
The old locomotive wheezed into the station.
a wheezing breath or sound.
an old and frequently used joke, saying, story, etc.
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English whese (v.), probably < Old Norse hvæsa to hiss
Related forms
wheezer, noun
wheezingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wheezing
  • By early evening, every bed and examining table was occupied by a wheezing and often panicky worker.
  • Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Albuterol is used on an emergency basis to open the airways of asthma patients suffering from severe wheezing.
  • Everywhere, people of all ages are wheezing and coughing up phlegm.
  • Imagine you're wheezing your way up a hill on your mountain bike.
  • It's a technique that's been adopted by countless wheezing movie mobsters since then.
  • Poor air is forcing runners and hikers back indoors wheezing.
  • The scandal is doing the wheezing insurer's financial health no good at all.
  • wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound during breathing.
  • Key symptoms include hives, hoarse voice, and wheezing.
British Dictionary definitions for wheezing


to breathe or utter (something) with a rasping or whistling sound
(intransitive) to make or move with a noise suggestive of wheezy breathing
a husky, rasping, or whistling sound or breathing
(Brit, slang) a trick, idea, or plan (esp in the phrase good wheeze)
(informal) a hackneyed joke or anecdote
Derived Forms
wheezer, noun
wheezy, adjective
wheezily, adverb
wheeziness, noun
Word Origin
C15: probably from Old Norse hvǣsa to hiss
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 wheezing



mid-15c., probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse hvoesa "to hiss," Danish hvæse) cognate with Old English hwæst "act of blowing," hwosan "to cough," from an imitative root. Related: Wheezed; wheezing. The noun is first recorded 1834.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wheezing in Medicine

wheeze (wēz)
v. wheezed, wheez·ing, wheez·es
To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound. n.
A wheezing sound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for wheezing


  1. The legs: His wheels are good. His arm is probably better than it was/ even the veiny old wheels (1940s+)
  2. A car: He tried to convince them that their wheels belonged to someone else (1950s+ Hot rodders)
Related Terms

set of wheels, shit on wheels

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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