I was singing and at the end of a long phrase I felt like I had expelled every last drop of breath in my body. Is there a word for that?

Example sentence:

Wow, that phrase completely _____ me.

I was thinking along the lines of eviscerate but that feels too far off.

I am not expecting a common expression, in fact, if a word comes up, I am half expecting it to be archaic.

  • 1
    OED lists the obsolete verb "abreathe" for this sense but I can't post as an answer as it is not used today. (debreathe could work also). Outbreathe is not obsolete or archaic and one of the senses possibly matches (Wiktionary), although possibly very uncommon. (never heard in this sense and couldn't find an example)
    – ermanen
    May 19 at 10:46
  • @ermanen, I wasn't aware of that limitation on answers
    – WendyG
    May 19 at 11:45
  • 1
    You are "out of puff" (in colloqiual British English)
    – Richard
    May 19 at 12:01
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    @ermanen You can -totally- post that as an answer... just make sure to be explicit about it not being used nowadays.
    – Mitch
    May 19 at 13:44
  • 2
    Out of breath = Breathless.
    – Charemer
    May 19 at 16:33

7 Answers 7


I think that the most obvious word would be deflated

having been emptied of air or gas.

However, deflated has very common figurative usage which is

having suddenly lost confidence or optimism.

so it could be confusing, depending on if the listener chose the literal or figurative use of the word.


The typical verb to use would be winded:

to make it difficult or temporarily impossible for someone to breathe, usually by hitting them in the stomach — Cambridge

(See also the adjective winded.)

  • 2
    The singer wasn't hit in the stomach, and was able to take another breath. Someone becomes winded, not because they exhaled a complete lungful of air, but because of oxygen deprivation in the blood. This isn't even close and I would downvote, expect I posted an answer, so I won't. May 18 at 17:19
  • 5
    When I sang in a children's choir, this is the term that we used for this phenomenon. One would also become "winded" after sprinting, say, or another strenuous form of exercise. I've never heard the "hitting" qualification, to be honest ... maybe some regional usage quirks. May 18 at 18:50
  • 4
    Googling "winded" gives many examples, including dictionary definitions, or it being from exercise. May 19 at 11:58
  • 3
    "Winded" definitely doesn't only apply to being punched in the stomach. If someone told me they were winded I would immediately think they had been running or some other form of exercise. Being punched in the stomach would be the absolute last thing that would come to mind. The top dictionary results also include definitions that mention physical exertion. However, the implication of "winded" is that you are breathing heavily for some period after and not just that you ran out of air and needed to take a quick breath, so I'm not sure it's exactly correct here.
    – Herohtar
    May 19 at 14:53
  • 3
    @Herohtar Agreed. The phrase I would use for the given definition would be 'knocked the wind out of' or 'got the wind knocked out of them'. 'Winded' refers to being out of breath from exertion in my mind.
    – JimmyJames
    May 19 at 17:26

I suggest

That long phrase completely spent my breath.

From Lexico


1.1 Use or give out the whole of; exhaust.

  • 4
    14 results for "spent my breath" in an adjusted Google search, and two of these for termination of life, means that this is not an idiomatic expression. This can be no more than writing advice (and I'd say working 'drained' in somehow would be better). And OP asks for a single word, correctly supplying an example sentence. May 18 at 11:37
  • @Edwin It doesn't fit my sentence but it reminds me of "that phrase totally spent me" which i do like (although it makes me think of victorian erotica)
    – WendyG
    May 18 at 14:03
  • @EdwinAshworth I am unsure whether there is an idiomatic expression for a singer who used an entire lungful of air. I didn't think 'winded' was correct, because a singer (or wind instrument player) doesn't get winded in the same way as an athlete. They just use a whole lungful and then draw another breath, rather than needing a recovery period. May 18 at 14:11
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    @EdwinAshworth so this is a self-serving site then? May 18 at 19:03
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    The issue is they don't want a word to fill in "_____ of breath". They want a single word (or phrase if no single word) that means "drained of breath" all by itself. "Spent" isn't that word -- "I"m spent" means very tired, not breathless. May 18 at 23:23

That phrase completely emptied you.

You would be relying on context to suggest that your lungs were emptied of breath, but the verb empty can apply to lungs as it applies to other literal and figurative containers (Merriam-Webster, esp. def. 1a and 1c):

transitive verb

1a : to make empty : remove the contents of empty a purse [...]

c : to discharge (itself) of contents

For instance:

The shot [was] close enough to my spine that it emptied me of breath. (Hilleman, A. (2017). World, Chase Me Down. Google Books)

My breath poured out of me in a long, silent, heaving sob. It emptied me so completely that I knew my recovering intake of breath would be enough to wake the boys. (Williford, T.L. (2019). Just. You. Wait.. Google Books.)

  • Drained also works. Breathless should be used in a rewrite.
    – Xanne
    May 18 at 22:46
  • 1
    The quotes seem to argue against "emptied" by itself -- they both add "of breath", since "emptied" by itself isn't clear. Drained is the same way -- it someone says they're emptied or drained, w/o specifying of what, I think we'd assume emotionally, or stamina-wise. May 18 at 23:19
  • Well, yes. Emptied has to be used in a context where it's clear breathing is involved, whether or not "breath" is mentioned. Singing a phrase would qualify as that context. May 19 at 13:56

"I ran out of air." This avoids the connotations of being tired or having used up all one's blood oxygen.

  • 1
    There's an easy to miss tag: single-word-request. They would like one word that all by itself means "completely drained of breath". It sounds silly, but there are many cases where there's 1 perfect word, like "slush" for "wet partially melted snow". May 18 at 23:28
  • 1
    I would use breath rather than air, but I agree with this answer that there isn't a single word to replace the concept. I offer this article in supporting evidence which is about how to manage the phenomena as a singer and never supplies a single word option.
    – Jontia
    May 19 at 8:12

Wow, that phrase completely expended me

Is fine and normal enough, although I think "winded" is the most obvious especially without context.

(verb) spend or use up (a resource such as money or energy): the energy expended in sport could be directed into other areas.

Oxford Dictionary of English


I don't believe there is non-medical term in common usage for this. The proper word is "hypoxiated", unless you have literally expelled every single last molecule of oxygen, in which case you have become "anoxiated".

The closest commonly-used word would be "asphyxiated", although technically this is the term for the condition of your tissues and secondary respiratory processes after after they have been depleted of oxygen, not the word for the reduction of oxygen levels itself.

  • This sound like it could come from other causes than a complete relaxation of the diaphragm on one breath (eg lack of oxygen in the air that is breathed in, collapsed lung etc). The OP is describing when they've taken in one breath, and expelled it all, as much as they can in one action.
    – Mitch
    May 19 at 13:50

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