Definition of respire in English:



  • 1 Breathe.

    ‘he lay back, respiring deeply’
    [with object] ‘a country where fresh air seems impossible to respire’
    • ‘Those patients randomized to respire supplemental oxygen during exercise training succeeded in training at higher training intensities than those respiring supplemental air.’
    • ‘They continue to respire through their lungs (their mouths not being covered by cocoon), though their metabolic rate is greatly reduced.’
    • ‘We do not say that an egg is alive but the creature in the egg is alive in the same way the baby in the womb is alive. For the foetus to be alive it would have to be able to respire, produce young, respond to stimuli, grow, move and urinate.’
    • ‘He was able to then clear enough seawater to respire effectively.’
    • ‘He argues that air must be soluble in water, for fish respire as we do, and air is required for the senses of hearing and smell, which fish clearly possess.’
    inhale and exhale, respire, draw breath
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a plant) carry out respiration, especially at night when photosynthesis has ceased.
      • ‘Cold-acclimated roots tend to respire faster under warm measurement temperatures than warm-acclimated ones.’
      • ‘Vines respire more sugar at high temperatures for their normal metabolism, but do not photosynthesize any faster; they therefore need more sunlight hours to generate a sugar surplus for ripening the fruit.’
      • ‘Thus, in tissue exclusively fixing respired or internally generated CO 2, but not carrying out net gas exchange, photosynthetic capacity can still be estimated.’
      • ‘Cutting hay late in the day forces plant cells to respire all night long, losing yield and quality.’
      • ‘The whole plant respired 59% of photosynthates in the growing period.’
    2. 1.2literary Recover hope, courage, or strength after a time of difficulty.
      ‘the archduke, newly respiring from so long a war’
      • ‘Italy was at last respiring from "the deadly wounds" inflicted upon her for so many years.’


Late Middle English: from Old French respirer or Latin respirare breathe out from re- again + spirare breathe.