breath Iconspeaker_3
[de a-dem, <no plural>]

There is apparently a distinction between ‘a person’s breath’ and ‘breath’ as an example of ‘wind’ (as in a breath of fresh air). But let’s assume that will be clear from context.

A lot of expressions with ‘adem’ exist and we cover (part of) them in the examples.

– "Het is zo koud buiten dat je je eigen adem kan zien." 
("It’s so cold outside that one can see his/her own breath.")

– "Met ingehouden adem keek de trainer naar de verrichtingen van zijn pupil." 
("The coach watched the performance of his pupil with bated breath.")

– "Hoe lang kan jij je adem inhouden?" 
("For how long can you hold your breath?")

– "Even wachten, ik moet even op adem komen; volgende keer neem ik de lift!" – "Je raakt wel erg snel buiten adem, je bent toch geen ouwe man!"
("Wait a second, I have to catch my breath; next time I’ll take the elevator!" – "You get puffed really quickly, you are not an old man are you now?")

– "Ik heb het boek ‘Oorlogswinter‘ in een adem uitgelezen en jij?" – "Ik ook, heb je trouwens de film al gezien?"
("I couldn’t stop reading ‘Oorlogswinter’, what about you?" – "Me too, by the way, have you seen the film yet?" Literally: "read the book in one breath".)

– "Hij wordt altijd in een adem genoemd met de andere grote schrijvers van de 19e eeuw." 
("He is always bracketed together with the other great writers of the 19th century.")

– "We zullen wel eens zien wie hier de langste adem heeft!" 
("We shall see who will hold out longest, hah!" The "we zullen wel eens zien" typically implies the "hah"!)

– "Mijn manager houdt mij continu in de gaten; ben ik even iets anders aan het doen, voel ik weer zijn hete adem in mijn nek!" 
("My manager is constantly keeping an eye on me; just when I’m doing something else I feel him breathing down my neck again!")

– "Het spijt mij het te moeten mededelen, maar vanochtend heeft tante Bep haar laatste adem uitgeblazen…" 
("I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but this morning aunt Bep passed away…" Literally: "has blown out her last breath.")

Related words:
– Ademen: to breath [verb] [ademde, geademd].
– Ademhalen: to breathe [verb] [haalde adem, ademgehaald].

– "Hij haalde zo langzaam adem, dat ik dacht dat hij dood was!"
("He was breathing that slowly that I thought he was dead!")

– Adembenemend: breathtaking [adjective/adverb]. Note that there is also the expression "de adem benemen", but "adembenemend" is a bit more common.

2 thoughts on “Adem

  1. Related words:
    – Ademen: to breath [verb] [ademde, geademd].
    – Ademhalen: to breath [verb] [haalde adem, ademgehaald].
    To breathe – you left out the -e at the end of breathe (verb)
    I enjoy ‘Dutch word of the day’ immensely, thank you! I was a baby of three months when my parents emigrated from The Netherlands to South Africa fifty three years ago, with the result I can understand Dutch, and I can speak and read Dutch, but my spelling and grammar : bad!!! This helps and explains a lot, so I am learning every day. Thanks! Anneke

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