• (RP) IPA: /ˈɛə/, /ˈɛː/
  • (America) enPR: âr, IPA: /ˈɛəɹ/, /ˈɛɹ/


  1. (uncountable, meteorology) The substance constituting earth's atmosphere, particularly:
    I'm going outside to get some air.
    1. (historical, philosophy, alchemy) understood as one of the four elements of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
    2. (historical, medical) understood as a particular local substance with supposed effects on human health.
      • 1991 May 12, "Kidnapped!" Jeeves and Wooster, Series 2, Episode 5:
        Jeeves: Foreign travel often liberates emotions best kept in check, sir. The air of North America is notoriously stimulating in this regard, as witness the regrettable behavior of its inhabitants in 1776.
        B. Wooster: Hm? What happened in 1776, Jeeves?
        Jeeves: I prefer not to dwell on it, if it's convenient to you, sir.
      There was a tension in the air which made me suspect an approaching storm.
    3. (physics) understood as a gaseous mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and various trace gases.
  2. (usually, with the) The apparently open space above the ground which this substance fills, (historical) formerly thought to be limited by the firmament but (meteorology) now considered to be surrounded by the near vacuum of outer space.
    The flock of birds took to the air.
  3. A breeze; a gentle wind.
  4. A feeling or sense.
    to give it an air of artistry and sophistication
    • November 2 2014, Daniel Taylor, "Sergio Agüero strike wins derby for Manchester City against 10-man United ↗,"
      Smalling’s quick one-two of yellow cards towards the end of the first half had left an air of inevitability about what would follow and, if anything, it was probably a surprise that City restricted themselves to Sergio Agüero’s goal bearing in mind another of United’s defenders, Marcos Rojo, was taken off on a stretcher early in the second half with a dislocated shoulder.
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars, Chapter I,
      The girl stooped to pluck a rose, and as she bent over it, her profile was clearly outlined. She held the flower to her face with a long-drawn inhalation, then went up the steps, crossed the piazza, opened the door without knocking, and entered the house with the air of one thoroughly at home.
  5. A sense of poise, graciousness, or quality.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Volume I, Chapter 4:
      "He is very plain, undoubtedly—remarkably plain:—but that is nothing compared with his entire want of gentility. I had no right to expect much, and I did not expect much; but I had no idea that he could be so very clownish, so totally without air. I had imagined him, I confess, a degree or two nearer gentility."
  6. (usually, in the plural) Pretension; snobbishness; pretence that one is better than others.
    putting on airs
  7. (music) A song, especially a solo; an aria.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 18:
      "If I," said Mr. Collins, "were so fortunate as to be able to sing, I should have great pleasure, I am sure, in obliging the company with an air; for I consider music as a very innocent diversion, and perfectly compatible with the profession of a clergyman […] "
  8. (informal) Nothing; absence of anything.
  9. (countable, uncountable) An air conditioner or the processed air it produces.
    Could you turn on the air?
    Hey, did you mean to leave the airs on all week while you were on vacation?
  10. (obsolete, chemistry) Any specific gas.
  11. (snowboarding, skateboarding, motor sports) A jump in which one becomes airborne.
  12. A television or radio signal.
  13. (uncountable) Publicity.
Synonyms Related terms Verb

air (airs, present participle airing; past and past participle aired)

  1. To bring (something) into contact with the air, so as to freshen or dry it.
  2. To let fresh air into a room or a building, to ventilate.
    It's getting quite stuffy in this room: let's open the windows and air it.
  3. To discuss varying viewpoints on a given topic.
    • 1917, National Geographic, v.31, March 1917:
      Thus, in spite of all opposition, the rural and urban assemblies retained the germ of local government, and in spite of the dual control, as the result of which much of their influence was nullified, they did have a certain value in airing abuses and suggesting improvements.
  4. (transitive) To broadcast (a television show etc.).
  5. (intransitive) To be broadcast.
    This game show first aired in the 1990s and is still going today.
  6. (British, MLE, slang) To ignore.
Translations Translations Translations
  • French: mettre à l'antenne
  • German: ausstrahlen
  • Italian: mandare in onda
  • Portuguese: transmitir
  • Spanish: retransmitir

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