Definition of wheeze in English:


Syllabification: wheeze
Pronunciation: /(h)wēz


[no object]
  • 1(Of a person) breathe with a whistling or rattling sound in the chest, as a result of obstruction in the air passages: the illness often leaves her wheezing
    More example sentences
    • The older man was beginning to wheeze as he breathed.
    • The old man eyed me suspiciously and limped forward as he wheezed and gasped for breath.
    • The old man wheezed and gasped terribly, groaning out a little as the pain of his performance finally caught up with him.
  • 1.1 [with object] Utter with a wheezing sound: he could barely wheeze out his pleas for a handout [with direct speech]: “Don’t worry son,” he wheezed
    More example sentences
    • Uriah wheezes a laugh and swaggers back to the picnic table for more wine and cheese.
  • 1.2Walk or move slowly with a wheezing sound: she wheezed up the hill toward them
    More example sentences
    • He glanced back at Vincent, who was puffing and wheezing from the walk down the tunnel under the burden of ammunition, weapons and the oppressive heat of his coat.
    • ‘Thank you, everyone,’ Nick wheezed as the shuttle moved on, re-entering Earth's ozone.
    • Dreyr collapsed into a heap on the floor and wheezed as the figure walked away, its cloak billowing in the breeze and giving the illusion that the figure was much larger and more formidable.
  • 1.3(Of a device) make an irregular rattling or spluttering sound: the engine coughed, wheezed, and shrieked into life
    More example sentences
    • The massive machine wheezed and spewed diesel smoke as it pushed an enormous heap of concrete debris, olive trees, and metal sheeting into a larger pile at the roadside.
    • Outside, the church bus rumbled to a stop, air brakes wheezing.
    • The reactor sat on a table with an attached vacuum pump wheezing away.


[usually in singular] Back to top  
  • 1A sound of or as of a person wheezing: I talk with a wheeze
    More example sentences
    • The shadow emitted a terrible sound, an awful wheeze of frenzied laughter suppressed until it became strangling.
    • I dare to ask; my throat is sore, and my voice sounds like a nasal wheeze.
    • He had no other symptoms, and the examination didn't yield a clue - no rubs, rales, wheezes, or murmur.
  • 2An old joke, story, aphorism, act, or routine: the old wheeze about the diner complaining about the fly in his soup
    More example sentences
    • This is just a New Age recycling of the old wheeze, ‘badmothering-causes-male-violence.’
    • A few years ago when Schoolfreinds started in Australia, I stuck my details up on the website for a bit of a wheeze.
  • 2.1British informal A clever or amusing scheme, idea, or trick: a new wheeze to help farmers
    More example sentences
    • Policy wonks might have thought it a clever wheeze to apply New York Mayor Giuliani's zero tolerance on street crime to cannabis users.
    • And he has exhausted all of the possible clever taxation wheezes.
    • Elsewhere, as you'll have noticed, tactical buttons were the wheeze of the week.



More example sentences
  • There was no difference in the frequency of allergic sensitization at age 3 between never wheezers and children with late-onset wheeze.
  • This finding is consistent with data showing that the persistent wheezers represent one third of the children who wheezed and are those who showed a deterioration of the pulmonary function over time.
  • However, because of the inclusion criteria in the questionnaire, transient wheezers should not have been labeled asthmatic in our study population.


More example sentences
  • They're amusing in English, but the Spanish dub again, inexplicably, renders them wheezingly hilarious.
  • He kept his eyes on me while he wheezingly announced the generous purpose of his visit.
  • And then there's the man's voice: It's a great wheezingly melodic rumble of a thing, like the hold music on hell's hotline.


late Middle English: probably from Old Norse hvæsa 'to hiss'.

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