What does the idiom "in the air" mean?

The phrase in the air is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of in the air.

Meaning of "in the air"


The phrase "in the air" is an idiom that is used to describe a situation where information, emotions, or an atmosphere exist around someone or something but is not necessarily stated directly. It implies that an event, decision, opinion, or news is likely to happen, and is often used to describe an environment which is filled with anticipation or expectation. The phrase can also be used to describe a prevailing feeling that is shared by a group of people.


The exact origin of the phrase is uncertain, but it is thought to have been derived from the expression "in the wind", which was used to describe a rumour in the 16th century. This term was likely derived from the Old English phrase "in þe wynde", which was used to signify something which was perceived before it had been observed or encountered. It may have been used to describe a physical wind, which would carry scents, smells, and other information.


The phrase "in the air" is typically used to describe a situation or atmosphere that is pervasive and contagious, but not explicitly stated. It can be used when one wishes to convey a feeling of potential or anticipation, even if an event has yet to take place. It is often used to describe an idea that has been accepted by a wide range of people, or an emotion that is shared by an entire group. The phrase is also commonly used to describe a romantic atmosphere or tension that exists between two people that have yet to formally acknowledge or express their feelings.

Example Sentences

  • I could feel the love in the air when they entered the room.
  • She knew that something was in the air when everyone around her seemed so excited.
  • There was a tension in the air when the two rivals encountered each other.
  • I could tell something was about to happen; you could feel it in the air.

The meanings of the words in the "in the air" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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