What Does Breaking Wind Mean?

Breaking Wind Meaning

Definition: To fart.

A similar expression is pass gas. Both break wind and pass gas are considered to be more polite terms than the word fart. However, most people will avoid talking about this topic in general. This is especially true in academic and professional settings.

For a discussion of break vs. brake, see here.

Origin of Breaking Wind

This expression has existed since the 1500s. It may have developed from the definition of break, meaning to start suddenly, and the definition of wind, meaning moving air.

Examples of Breaking Wind

define breaking windIn this conversation, a daughter is complaining about her younger brother.

Daughter: Mom, make him stop! 

Mother: Why? What is your brother doing to bother you now?

Daughter: He’s being gross. He keeps breaking wind, on purpose.

Mother: I’m sure he’s not doing it on purpose. Everyone farts sometimes.

Daughter: He told me he’s doing it on purpose!

what does it mean to break windIn this example, two coworkers talk about a weird smell in the office.

Dave: What is that terrible smell?

Ben: I’m not sure, but it just started, and it’s very powerful.

Dave: It smells like someone is breaking wind in here.

Ben: This is awful. We really need a better ventilation system.

Dave: I’m going to open a window.

Ben: I really don’t think it’s appropriate to break wind in the middle of an office setting.

More Examples

This excerpt is about the men who dress up as Santa Claus during the Christmas season. These actors usually have children come up and sit on their laps. The children tell them what they want for Christmas. However, sometimes these actors have unusual things happen to them when people are sitting on their laps.

Being Santa isn’t always the jolliest or most dignified position.

  • “I even had a supermodel break wind on my lap and Dolly Parton pinch my backside one Christmas Eve,” three-time Macy’s Santa Glen Heroy, a 54-year-old New Yorker, tells The Post. –New York Post

This example is about an athlete who offended a referee. The referee disciplined the athlete because the athlete farted on the referee. 

  • “I asked the referee, ‘What, am I not allowed to break wind a little?” said Ljungkvist. ‘No,’ he replied… I don’t get it but maybe he thought I farted in my hand and threw the fart at him. But I did not.” –New York Daily News


To break wind is a verb phrase that describes the action of flatulence.