air /ˈær, ˈɛr/
1. The fluid which we breathe, and which surrounds the earth; the atmosphere. It is invisible, inodorous, insipid, transparent, compressible, elastic, and ponderable.
Note: ☞ By the ancient philosophers, air was regarded as an element; but modern science has shown that it is essentially a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen, with a small amount of carbon dioxide, the average proportions being, by volume: oxygen, 20.96 per cent.; nitrogen, 79.00 per cent.; carbon dioxide, 0.04 per cent. These proportions are subject to a very slight variability. Air also always contains some vapor of water.
2. Symbolically: Something unsubstantial, light, or volatile. “Charm ache with air.”
He was still all air and fire.
[Air and fire being the finer and quicker elements as opposed to earth and water.] --Macaulay.
3. A particular state of the atmosphere, as respects heat, cold, moisture, etc., or as affecting the sensations; as, a smoky air, a damp air, the morning air, etc.
4. Any aëriform body; a gas; as, oxygen was formerly called vital air. [Obs.]
5. Air in motion; a light breeze; a gentle wind.
Let vernal airs through trembling osiers play. --Pope.
6. Odoriferous or contaminated air.
7. That which surrounds and influences.
The keen, the wholesome air of poverty. --Wordsworth.
8. Utterance abroad; publicity; vent.
You gave it air before me. --Dryden.
9. Intelligence; information. [Obs.]
10. Mus. (a) A musical idea, or motive, rhythmically developed in consecutive single tones, so as to form a symmetrical and balanced whole, which may be sung by a single voice to the stanzas of a hymn or song, or even to plain prose, or played upon an instrument; a melody; a tune; an aria. (b) In harmonized chorals, psalmody, part songs, etc., the part which bears the tune or melody -- in modern harmony usually the upper part -- is sometimes called the air.
11. The peculiar look, appearance, and bearing of a person; mien; demeanor; as, the air of a youth; a heavy air; a lofty air. “His very air.”
12. Peculiar appearance; apparent character; semblance; manner; style.
It was communicated with the air of a secret. --Pope.
12. pl. An artificial or affected manner; show of pride or vanity; haughtiness; as, it is said of a person, he puts on airs.
14. Paint. (a) The representation or reproduction of the effect of the atmospheric medium through which every object in nature is viewed. --New Am. Cyc. (b) Carriage; attitude; action; movement; as, the head of that portrait has a good air.
15. Man. The artificial motion or carriage of a horse.
Note: ☞ Air is much used adjectively or as the first part of a compound term. In most cases it might be written indifferently, as a separate limiting word, or as the first element of the compound term, with or without the hyphen; as, air bladder, air-bladder, or airbladder; air cell, air-cell, or aircell; air-pump, or airpump.
Air balloon. See Balloon.
Air bath. (a) An apparatus for the application of air to the body. (b) An arrangement for drying substances in air of any desired temperature.
Air castle. See Castle in the air, under Castle.
Air compressor, a machine for compressing air to be used as a motive power.
Air crossing, a passage for air in a mine.
Air cushion, an air-tight cushion which can be inflated; also, a device for arresting motion without shock by confined air.
Air fountain, a contrivance for producing a jet of water by the force of compressed air.
Air furnace, a furnace which depends on a natural draft and not on blast.
Air line, a straight line; a bee line. Hence Air-line, adj.; as, air-line road.
Air lock Hydr. Engin., an intermediate chamber between the outer air and the compressed-air chamber of a pneumatic caisson. --Knight.
Air port Nav., a scuttle or porthole in a ship to admit air.
Air spring, a spring in which the elasticity of air is utilized.
Air thermometer, a form of thermometer in which the contraction and expansion of air is made to measure changes of temperature.
Air threads, gossamer.
Air trap, a contrivance for shutting off foul air or gas from drains, sewers, etc.; a stench trap.
Air trunk, a pipe or shaft for conducting foul or heated air from a room.
Air valve, a valve to regulate the admission or egress of air; esp. a valve which opens inwardly in a steam boiler and allows air to enter.
Air way, a passage for a current of air; as the air way of an air pump; an air way in a mine.
In the air. (a) Prevalent without traceable origin or authority, as rumors. (b) Not in a fixed or stable position; unsettled. (c) Mil. Unsupported and liable to be turned or taken in flank; as, the army had its wing in the air.
on the air, currently transmitting; live; -- used of radio and television broadcasts, to indicate that the images and sounds being picked up by cameras and microphones are being broadcast at the present moment.
Note: In call-in programs where individuals outside a radio or television studio have telephoned into the station, when their voice is being directly broadcast, the host of the program commonly states “You're on the air.” as a warning that the conversation is not private.
To take air, to be divulged; to be made public.
To take the air, to go abroad; to walk or ride out.
Air v. t. [imp. & p. p. Aired p. pr. & vb. n. Airing.]
1. To expose to the air for the purpose of cooling, refreshing, or purifying; to ventilate; as, to air a room.
It were good wisdom . . . that the jail were aired. --Bacon.
Were you but riding forth to air yourself. --Shak.
2. To expose for the sake of public notice; to display ostentatiously; as, to air one's opinion.
Airing a snowy hand and signet gem. --Tennyson.
3. To expose to heat, for the purpose of expelling dampness, or of warming; as, to air linen; to air liquors.
adj : relating to or characteristic of or occurring in the air;
"air war"; "air safety"; "air travel" [syn: air(a)]
[ant: land(a), sea(a)]
n 1: a mixture of gases (especially oxygen) required for
breathing; the stuff that the wind consists of; "air
pollution"; "a smell of chemicals in the air"; "open a
window and let in some air"; "I need some fresh air"
2: travel via aircraft; "air travel involves too much waiting
in airports"; "if you've time to spare go by air" [syn: air
3: the region above the ground; "her hand stopped in mid air";
"he threw the ball into the air"
4: medium for radio and television broadcasting; "the program
was on the air from 9 til midnight"; "the president used
the airwaves to take his message to the people" [syn: airwave]
5: a slight wind (usually refreshing); "the breeze was cooled
by the lake"; "as he waited he could feel the air on his
neck" [syn: breeze, zephyr, gentle wind]
6: a distinctive but intangible quality surrounding a person or
thing; "an air of mystery"; "the house had a neglected
air"; "an atmosphere of defeat pervaded the candidate's
headquarters"; "the place had an aura of romance" [syn: aura,
7: the mass of air surrounding the Earth; "there was great heat
as the comet entered the atmosphere"; "it was exposed to
the air" [syn: atmosphere]
8: a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence; "she
was humming an air from Beethoven" [syn: tune, melody,
strain, melodic line, line, melodic phrase]
9: once thought to be one of four elements composing the
v 1: expose to fresh air; "aerate your old sneakers" [syn: air
2: be broadcast; "This show will air Saturdays at 2 P.M."
3: broadcast over the airwaves, as in radio or television; "We
cannot air this X-rated song" [syn: send, broadcast, beam,
4: make public; "She aired her opinions on welfare" [syn: publicize,
5: expose to warm or heated air, so as to dry; "Air linen"
6: expose to cool or cold air so as to cool or freshen; "air
the old winter clothes"; "air out the smoke-filled rooms"
[syn: vent, ventilate, air out]
the atmosphere, as opposed to the higher regions of the sky (1
Thess. 4:17; Rev. 9:2; 16:17). This word occurs once as the
rendering of the Hebrew _ruah_ (Job 41:16); elsewhere it is the
rendering of _shamaiyim_, usually translated "heavens."
The expression "to speak into the air" (1 Cor. 14:9) is a
proverb denoting to speak in vain, as to "beat the air" (1 Cor.
9:26) denotes to labour in vain.