I am writing a story and I am at a loss for a word/phrase. The scene is as follows:

Two young people have fallen in love with each other. They are doing a slow dance and suddenly get too close to each other. They breathe in a fast manner. What is this type of breathing called? What is the word/phrase for this?

  • 1
    Shallow breathing. Jul 25, 2019 at 18:03
  • What synonyms of 'breathe' did your thesaurus give you? Jul 25, 2019 at 19:28
  • 2
    @Cascabel — As in the famous “his breath came in short pants”. Ahmed, don’t give up the day job.
    – David
    Jul 25, 2019 at 20:20
  • 1
    Sometimes, Ahmad, you just have to accept that there isn't a pre-existing word or phrase to describe what you want. That's the mark of a great writer, someone who can put into words those difficult emotions which are hard to describe.
    – Mynamite
    Jul 25, 2019 at 22:40
  • 3
    His breath quickened, as did hers.
    – Xanne
    Jul 26, 2019 at 2:31

2 Answers 2


In the extreme you could use "they started to hyperventilate." Can you provide some of the sentences you have so far so we can be more helpful in context?

  • 1
    Not a very romantic way to describe it ! :)
    – Mynamite
    Jul 25, 2019 at 22:36
  • exactly my thought. no toot romantic Jul 27, 2019 at 21:19


to breathe quickly and loudly through your mouth, usually because you have been doing something energetic


to breathe loudly and with difficulty, trying to get more air


an increase in the breathing rate or in the depth of breathing, as after strenuous exercise

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