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Hungry for eating. Thirsty for drinking. Tired for sleeping.

What can we use for the need or desire to breathe?

I can think of saying "hungry for air," "thirsty for a breath," "gasping for a breath." Is there anything specific for breathe?

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    Suffocating? Asphyxiating? Dying? – Dan Bron Apr 13 '15 at 19:04
  • Breathless, perhaps? – Hot Licks Apr 13 '15 at 20:30
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    Why not gasping for breath? It is the most commonly used phrase. – Zikato Apr 14 '15 at 5:24
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I believe the word you're looking for is winded.

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    You're hungry when you need to eat; you're not constantly eating. Ditto for thirsty and drinking. On the other hand, you're always breathing. The suggestion of winded is the best alternative, however; it describes the condition you're in when exertion has caused you to require more oxygen, and therefore, you have to breathe harder and deeper to keep up. Another way of saying this is "out of breath." – Steven Littman Apr 14 '15 at 1:03
  • @Terroba I like this as the best option, and something could play with. I don't think it often gets used in the sense I was looking for – Ryan Heitner Apr 14 '15 at 6:38
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I would suggest hypoxic, although it sounds a bit technical.

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    Nothing wrong with technical, the human body senses pure hypoxia poorly and is often a pathological condition. – Mazura Apr 14 '15 at 5:24
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As the words you use for eating, drinking and sleeping indicate a state, you might want to go with fainting.

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Burning... for a breath of fresh air. Fire consumes oxygen to exist without it it dies as do we.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/fire.htm

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