Apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing briefly, often while you're asleep. One symptom of this kind of apnea is excessive snoring.

The most common type of apnea is "sleep apnea," which affects both adults and children and can result in as many as 30 breathless episodes per night. Many people with this kind of apnea don't know they have it. Scientifically, any instance of not breathing is considered apnea — whether you're holding your breath or being choked. The Greek root of apnea is apnos, "without breathing," from a-, "not," and pnein, "to breathe."

Definitions of apnea

n transient cessation of respiration

periodic apnea of the newborn
irregular breathing of newborns; periods of rapid breathing followed by apnea; believed to be associated with sudden infant death syndrome
sleep apnea
apnea that occurs during sleep
SIDS, cot death, crib death, infant death, sudden infant death syndrome
sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant during sleep
Type of:
(medicine) any sensation or change in bodily function that is experienced by a patient and is associated with a particular disease

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.