Definition of air in English:

air

Line breaks: air
Pronunciation: /ɛː
 
/

noun

  • 1 [mass noun] The 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
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    Synonyms
    going on, happening, afoot, around, about, abroad, circulating, current, stirring, in circulation, at large, going about, in the wind; brewing, looming, on the way, in the offing, on the horizon
    informal on the go, doing the rounds, on the cards, in the pipeline
    literary astir
  • 1.2The free or unconfined space above the surface of the earth: he celebrated by tossing his hat high in the air
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    Synonyms
  • 1.3 [usually as modifier] Referring to the use of aircraft: air travel all goods must come in by air
    More example sentences
    • 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
    More example sentences
    • 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.
  • 1.5One of the four elements in ancient and medieval philosophy and in astrology (considered essential to the nature of the signs of Gemini, Aquarius, and Libra): [as modifier]: an air sign
    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.
  • 1.6 [count noun] A breeze or light wind.
    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.
    Synonyms
    breeze, draught, wind; breath of air, gust of air, flurry of air, waft of air, puff of wind, whiff of air, blast of air
  • 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
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    Synonyms
    expression, appearance, look, impression, aspect, manner, bearing, mien, countenance; mood, quality, ambience, aura, feeling, flavour, tone
    informal vibe
  • 2.1 (airs) An annoyingly affected and condescending manner: he began to put on airs and think he could boss us around
    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 song: traditional Scottish airs sung in the Gaelic tongue
    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.
    Synonyms
  • 4A jump off the ground on a snowboard or skateboard.
    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.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • 2British 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.
    Synonyms
    ventilate, aerate, freshen, refresh, cool, air-condition
  • 2.1Warm (washed laundry) to remove dampness: I was airing the sheets
    More example sentences
    • Well, by now, hopefully the flags have been aired and the jerseys washed.
    • A new regulation to be adopted soon bans locals from airing their laundry in some downtown streets.
    • I asked my mother one day, airing out the sheets.
  • 2.2 (air oneself) • archaic Go out in the fresh air: to go and air myself in my native fields

Phrases

airs and graces

British derogatory An affectation of superiority: young master Tristan, with his fancy education and his airs and graces
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.
Synonyms

in the air

Felt by a number of people to be happening or about to happen: panic was in the air you can tell there’s an election 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: the wacky series has been on the air for ten years
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: I had a sudden feeling to get out and take the air

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.
Synonyms
uncertain, unknown, undetermined, unsettled, unresolved, unsure, pending, in the balance, in limbo, in no man's land, debatable, open to question, in doubt
informal dicey, hairy, iffy
British informal dodgy

walk (or tread) on air

Feel elated: most couples feel they are walking on air on their wedding day
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.’

Origin

Middle English (in sense 1 of the noun): from Old French air, from Latin aer, from Greek aēr, denoting the gas. sense 2 of the noun is from French air, probably from Old French aire 'site, disposition', from Latin ager, agr- 'field' (influenced by sense 1). sense 3 of the noun comes from Italian aria (see aria).

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