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If you have no idea whatsoever about any of the meanings of the word air then you are probably dead. If you learn nothing else from this entry, learn this: You definitely want to have access to air.

Air is the invisible mixture of gases we breath. Without it we die. Period.

That isn’t the only meaning of the word air, but it’s unquestionably the most important one.

Air is also used to mean an empty space, as in “out of thin air.” If you’re in an empty space that is truly empty, i.e., it doesn’t even have air, then you’ve got a problem. For one thing, there won’t be any computers around on which you can read this and learn that you have a problem.

However, don’t worry about it. It won’t be a problem for long. Am I in your will? I’m just asking. If not, please consider it before you find yourself in that predicament.

The word air can also refer to a form of travel. When people say, I’m traveling by air it’s generally safe to assume that an airplane, or at least some sort of flying machine, rather than solely air, is involved.

When they find themselves somehow in mid-air, without anything but air immediately around them that is capable of flying, people tend to fall to the ground rather rapidly. The result is not pleasant and typically fatal if the mid-air starting point was a good distance of the ground.

Once you get close to Earth, gravity will pull you down at a rate of acceleration equal to a little over 32 feet/second2, less the deceleration caused any drag that wind resistance might cause. For all practical purposes, “close” includes any distance most of us will ever get from Earth. Thus, if you expect that, at some time during your journey, you will stop traveling by airplane and start traveling by air a parachute would definitely be a good thing to have.

That having been said, if things are up in the air rather than a person being up in the air, that simply means that those things are not settled. A parachute is not necessarily required for the continuance of life in such circumstances.

Air can also refer to a person’s appearance. For example, people might say, “Joel has an air of lunacy.” I protest because that is a horribly cruel thing to say. I’m not saying they are wrong. I’m just saying that they are cruel.

When you use the plural, airs, when talking about a person, it means that person is being a phony and acting above his or her station in life. I never thought about it before, but would it be correct to say that someone is putting on airs if he or she is a total loser, but acts mediocre?

Air can also be used as a verb, again with a few different meanings. If you hang clothing out on a clothes line to dry them or to make them smell a little fresher that is airing them. If the need to freshen them is a result of them carrying intense body odor, washing them with a good soap and maybe some lightly scented fabric softener before airing them might also be a good idea.

If you live in an apartment you might want to check with your landlord first. Some places don’t allow you to hang clothes on a line on your balcony because it degrades the appearance of the slum you are living in. If you break this rule you might find yourself airing your clothes and yourself on a park bench. You’ve been warned.

Finally, if you reveal your opinions to the public, or even just a select group of people, you are airing your views. Depending on your views, you might also be making a public spectacle of yourself and/or letting people know how monumentally stupid you are. Again, you’ve been warned.

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