breathe, breath·ing. –verb (used without object) 1. to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire. 2. to pause, as for breath; take rest: How about giving me a chance to breathe? 4. to move gently or blow lightly, as air. 5. to live; exist: Hardly a man breathes who has not known great sorrow.