Definition of respiration in English:



mass noun
  • 1The action of breathing.

    ‘opiates affect respiration’
    • ‘Every aspect of life depends on muscular activity, whether it be speech, eating and digestion, respiration, all expressions of brain function.’
    • ‘Blood pressure and respiration are checked every five minutes, and the patient's temperature also is recorded.’
    • ‘In mammals, external respiration - the ventilation of the lungs - is achieved by breathing, the mechanical basis of respiration: the terms are sometimes used synonymously.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1Medicine count noun A single breath.
      ‘observation of the patient's respirations will gradually be decreased’
      • ‘In the respiratory form, sinus arrhythmia typically varies with respirations, and the heart rate (RR interval) increases with inspiration and decreases with expiration.’
      • ‘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%.’
      • ‘They have noisy respirations, and expiratory stridor is usually present from birth.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.
      • ‘Root respiration provides metabolic energy for growth and maintenance of root biomass and for ion transport.’
      • ‘Lipids provide material for respiration and energy production, and serve as vitamins, hormones and structural components of biological membranes.’
      • ‘First, and most obvious, there is the role of respiration in energy metabolism.’
      • ‘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.’


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