General English

General Science

  • noun the solid waste of burnt coal or other material produced by a furnace


  • noun a gentle wind especially near the coast


  • exclamation
    (written as breeze!)
    an exhortation to relax, calm down. An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.
  • verb to move quickly, rush, run. A term used by young street-gang members in London since around 2000.

Origin & History of “breeze”

Breeze has not always connoted ‘lightness’ or ‘gentleness’. Old Spanish briza, its probable source, meant ‘cold northeast wind’, and that is the meaning it originally had in English. The word was picked up through English-Spanish contact in Central and south America, and the fact that on the Atlantic coast of the area the onshore winds were from the east and northeast led in the 17th century to breeze being applied to any cool wind from the sea (as in ‘sea breezes’), and gradually to any light wind. The adjective breezy perhaps retains more of the word’s earlier ‘cold’ connotations.

The breeze (18th c.) of breezeblock is a completely different word, meaning ‘cinders’, and comes from French braise ‘live coals’, source also of English braise and brazier.