verb (used with object), in·haled, in·hal·ing.
- to breathe in; draw in by breathing: to inhale the polluted air.
verb (used without object), in·haled, in·hal·ing.
- to breathe in, especially the smoke of cigarettes, cigars, etc.: Do you inhale when you smoke?
- to draw (breath) into the lungs; breathe in
1725, “to breathe in,” back-formation from inhalation or else from Latin inhalare “breathe upon,” from in- “upon” (see in- (2)) + halare “breathe.” Related: Inhaled; inhaling. Current sense is because the word was taken as the opposite of exhale. Slang sense of “eat rapidly” is recorded from 1924. As a noun, by 1934. Related: Inhaled; inhaling.
- To breathe in; inspire.
- To draw something such as smoke or a medicinal mist into the lungs by breathing; inspire.