Definition of air in English:


Syllabification: air
Pronunciation: /e(ə)r


  • 1The invisible gaseous substance surrounding the earth, a mixture mainly of oxygen and nitrogen.
    More example sentences
    • The surface tension of water is increased, and even the density of air surrounding the Earth ebbs and flows like the tides in the sea.
    • Whatever he became in that no-man's land he was a ghost, invisible as air.
    • Hence, toxic substances in air can easily reach the lung and produce harmful effects locally and in other organs.
  • 1.1Air regarded as necessary for breathing: the air was stale the doctor told me to get some fresh air
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    • As I rested day after day in the sun, breathing the fresh air, God slowly turned my life around.
    • Why do we have to leave our cities and towns to breathe fresh air?
    • After being locked down for so long it will be exhilarating to exit my cell and to breathe the fresh desert air.
  • 1.2The free or unconfined space above the surface of the earth: he celebrated by tossing his hat high in the air
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    • People have invaded the earth and the air; even the surface of the water is sliced through with boats.
    • It would fly up in the air and you had to hit it again as far as you could.
    • Ultimately, one of the dog's hind legs shoots up in the air, as its head goes down.
    sky, atmosphere; heavens, ether
  • 1.3 [as modifier] Used to indicate that something involves the use of aircraft: air travel
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    • At the time no one realized that this was the aircraft which would win the air war over the Pacific.
    • It has since been implemented at all the air logistics centers, albeit in a limited capacity.
    • As we were taxiing out to the strip I saw some air activity east of the field.
  • 1.4The earth’s atmosphere as a medium for transmitting radio waves: radio stations have successfully sold products over the air
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    • In theory the network can send its logo over the air - as with a Nokia phone - in practice they won't.
    • But they're sending your confidential data over the air through a broadcast system.
    • The idea that comes to my mind is to do a TV show, but to do it strictly online rather than over the air.
  • 1.5Air considered as one of the four elements in ancient philosophy and in astrology (associated with the signs of Gemini, Aquarius, and Libra).
    More example sentences
    • As an air sign, Aquarius relates to places that are high off the ground or above the general eye line.
    • As an air sign, Libra likes to keep things light, bright and positive.
    • So if the chart is cast for noon then Saturn acts as the triplicity ruler of all the air signs; at midnight Mercury would be used instead.
  • 1.6A breeze or light wind. See also light air.
    More example sentences
    • From the mobile start line north of Rough Holme, Naiad got away well in the light south-westerly airs and reached the windward mark at Claife with a narrow lead.
    • Light winds make finding carp that much harder, so let's just take a look at a few ways of hopefully getting on fish when light airs are the order of the day.
    • All of the heroes that is, except for the heroes of the airs… of the winds.
    breeze, draft, wind; breath/blast of air, gust of wind
  • 1.7Air conditioning.
  • 1.8A jump off the ground on a snowboard.
    [ Middle English: from Old French air, from Latin aer, from Greek aēr, denoting the gas]
    More example sentences
    • I love to watch Richie ride; he's my fave, some style and clean airs.
    • Brian Patch did body jars, backside airs, transfer lines and skated fast to 3rd place.
    • I just learned backside airs, and I was trying to tweak them out.
  • 2An impression of a quality or manner given by someone or something: she answered with a faint air of boredom he leaned over with a confidential air
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    • The painting lent an air of quality to the other items on the mantel, all inexpensive purchases.
    • His malapropisms and good old boy manner give him the air of a simpleton, and yet he's not.
    • He is about 41, with iron grey hair, round glasses, and a faint air of irony.
  • 2.1 (airs) An annoyingly affected and condescending manner: he began to put on airs and think he could boss us around
    [ late 16th century: from French air, probably from Old French aire 'site, disposition', from Latin ager, agr- 'field' (influenced by sense 1)]
    More example sentences
    • In other words, they - most of the people that are very successful in life - put on airs.
    • Alice's sharp wit and blunt pronouncements could be intimidating, but if you didn't put on airs and weren't a fool, she was fiercely loyal and endlessly forgiving.
    • But then again, he had never been one to put on airs.
  • 3 Music A tune or short melodious composition, typically a song.
    [ late 16th century: from Italian aria (see aria)]
    More example sentences
    • In the 17th century popular ballads were sung to the traditional airs; these were published in great numbers during the 18th century.
    • The talented Dordan group has won widespread acclaim for their unique sound - a blend of lively traditional jigs and reels, haunting slow airs, traditional songs along with mazurkas, sonatinas and waltzes.
    • Expect to hear a varied repertoire of original tunes and airs along with a choice of songs by Irish singer-songwriters and composers arranged by this dynamic duo.
    tune, melody, song
    literary lay


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  • 1 [with object] Express (an opinion or grievance) publicly: a meeting in which long-standing grievances were aired
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    • There are those in this area who hate him, but are afraid to air their grievances publicly.
    • It is a new show that will give members of the public the chance to air their opinions on a range of hot topics.
    • We could set up a public forum to discuss these issues and allow grievances to be aired.
    express, voice, make public, ventilate, articulate, state, declare, give expression/voice to; have one's say about
  • 1.1Broadcast (a program) on radio or television: the programs were aired on India’s state TV network
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    • Every day, Dominica's Broadcasting Corporation airs a radio programme exclusively about bananas, drawing an avid audience from all over this tiny Caribbean island.
    • Last week the BBC aired a television programme that contained evidence of a problem with drink and drug misuse among doctors in the United Kingdom.
    • The television station kept airing exit polls, claiming that the party had scored a landslide victory in both the parliamentary and local elections.
  • 1.2 archaic Parade or show (something) ostentatiously: airing a snowy hand and signet ring
    More example sentences
    • The extremely practical and funky knee length side zips with popper storm flaps allow ankles to be aired and calves exposed.
  • 2 [with object] Expose (a room) to the open air in order to ventilate it: the window sashes were lifted regularly to air the room
    More example sentences
    • It took me all of last night just to do my bedroom, and because I had to air the room after vacuuming, I had to sleep downstairs on the hard floor.
    • And these particular rooms were aired only for a barbarian envoy or a member of the merchant class.
    • All windows are open to air the rooms and with only shutters to keep out little intruders the level of noise is unbearable.
    ventilate, freshen, refresh, cool
  • 2.1 (air oneself) • archaic Go out in the fresh air.


airs and graces

derogatory An affectation of superiority.
More example sentences
  • You've taken on a few airs and graces lately, haven't you Tim?
  • He was at Man United but there's no airs and graces about Teddy.
  • Despite being raised the daughter of a brigadier, and despite stints at both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, there are no airs and graces to Juliet Stevenson.

by air

In an aircraft: all goods must come in by air
More example sentences
  • Contrary to statistics, traveling by air is the most dangerous way to go, in the long run.
  • If the invading force had to be supplied only by air and sea, wouldn't that be difficult?
  • If you intend to arrive by air, you will enter the country through one of four airports.

in the air

Noticeable all around; becoming prevalent: I smell violence in the air
More example sentences
  • Panic and terror could be smelt in the air and that sensation of worry clenched at his gut.
  • It is still not quite the real thing but it is getting closer, you can smell it in the air.
  • It is a bit more honest, I suppose, but means that there is no real magic in the air.

on (or off) the air

Being (or not being) broadcast on radio or television.
More example sentences
  • RTE television was off the air completely during the day - not even a testcard was broadcast - just static.
  • Broadcast of the series was held up by a strike that took ITV off the air for over two months.
  • Ever wonder where those morning radio shows get all that wacky news they read on the air?

take the air

Go out of doors.

up in the air

(Of a plan or issue) still to be settled; unresolved: the fate of the power station is up in the air
More example sentences
  • What happens beyond that or where it will take place is as up in the air as his plans in high school.
  • It's still up in the air because the file folders in which we found them had no labels.
  • As the company has just recently changed hands and still seems to be up in the air, I don't know who to contact about it.

walk on air

Feel elated.
More example sentences
  • Sara smiled back and walked on air as she left the room.
  • Showing off their repertoire of skills in Roundhay Park, the unassuming brothers admitted they were walking on air.
  • Kacey said: ‘I'm walking on air, I was so chuffed to receive the invitation and the kind words.’

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Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody