Definition of wheeze in English:

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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]
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.



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.


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'.

  • [LME] Wheeze is probably from Old Norse hvæsa ‘to hiss’.

Words that rhyme with wheeze

Achinese, Ambonese, appease, Assamese, Balinese, Belize, Beninese, Bernese, bêtise, Bhutanese, breeze, Burmese, Cantonese, Castries, cerise, cheese, chemise, Chinese, Cingalese, Cleese, Congolese, Denise, Dodecanese, ease, éminence grise, expertise, Faroese, freeze, Fries, frieze, Gabonese, Genoese, Goanese, Guyanese, he's, Japanese, Javanese, jeez, journalese, Kanarese, Keys, Lebanese, lees, legalese, Louise, Macanese, Madurese, Maltese, marquise, Milanese, Nepalese, officialese, overseas, pease, Pekinese, Peloponnese, Piedmontese, please, Portuguese, Pyrenees, reprise, Rwandese, seise, seize, Senegalese, she's, Siamese, Sienese, Sikkimese, Sinhalese, sleaze, sneeze, squeeze, Stockton-on-Tees, Sudanese, Sundanese, Surinamese, Tabriz, Taiwanese, tease, Tees, telegraphese, these, Timorese, Togolese, trapeze, valise, Viennese, Vietnamese, vocalese

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wheeze

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