Definition of respiration in English:



mass noun
  • 1The action of breathing.

    ‘opiates affect respiration’
    • ‘In mammals, external respiration - the ventilation of the lungs - is achieved by breathing, the mechanical basis of respiration: the terms are sometimes used synonymously.’
    • ‘Every aspect of life depends on muscular activity, whether it be speech, eating and digestion, respiration, all expressions of brain function.’
    • ‘Participants were children aged 2-59 months with complaints of cough, rapid respiration, or difficulty in breathing.’
    • ‘The effects of sleep on respiration include changes in central respiratory control, airways resistance, and muscular contractility.’
    • ‘Blood pressure and respiration are checked every five minutes, and the patient's temperature also is recorded.’
    1. 1.1Medicine count noun A single breath.
      ‘observation of the patient's respirations will gradually be decreased’
      • ‘By using opiate analgesics and sedatives to provide comfort to a dying patient, we risk depressing respirations and causing hypotension, which may hasten death.’
      • ‘Before and after each administration of salmeterol or placebo, patients were assessed for heart rate, respirations, and breath sounds.’
      • ‘Patients should be admitted to the hospital if respirations continue to be labored or their O 2 saturation is less than or equal to 90%.’
      • ‘In the respiratory form, sinus arrhythmia typically varies with respirations, and the heart rate (RR interval) increases with inspiration and decreases with expiration.’
      • ‘They have noisy respirations, and expiratory stridor is usually present from birth.’
      gulp of air, inhalation, inspiration
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Biology A process in living organisms involving the production of energy, typically with the intake of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide from the oxidation of complex organic substances.
      • ‘Lipids provide material for respiration and energy production, and serve as vitamins, hormones and structural components of biological membranes.’
      • ‘Temporal relationships between organic carbon production and respiration are not well understood in coral reef ecosystems.’
      • ‘Oxygen free radicals in root cells would be formed in the process of root respiration in the mitochondria and the oxidation of secondary metabolites such as soluble phenols.’
      • ‘Root respiration provides metabolic energy for growth and maintenance of root biomass and for ion transport.’
      • ‘First, and most obvious, there is the role of respiration in energy metabolism.’


Late Middle English: from Latin respiratio(n-), from respirare ‘breathe out’ (see respire).