wheeze (wēz, hwēz)
v. wheezed, wheez·ing, wheez·es
1. To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound.
2. To make a sound resembling laborious breathing.
To produce or utter with a hoarse whistling sound: The old locomotive wheezed steam.
1. A wheezing sound.
2. Informal An old joke.
3. Chiefly British A clever scheme.
[Middle English whesen, probably from Old Norse hvæsa, to hiss; see kwes- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.