Idioms With “Breath” and Meanings

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List of idioms with the word “Breath” and the meanings. Idioms about “Breath” and expressions.

Hold (one’s) breath, not; to not wait for something to happen because it probably won’t happen soon, if at all
1. Shirley said she would come, but don’t hold your breath. She often doesn’t show up, even when she says she will.
2. I’m hoping they will decide to buy the house, but I’m not holding my breath. So many things can go wrong with the deal.
The expression is always used in the negative.

With bated breath; hardly breathing at all because of fear, excitement, or other strong emotion
1. Alan took out a small ring. Jennifer knew this was the moment, and she waited with bated breath for him to ask her to marry him.
2. The swimmer stood silently with bated breath as he waited for the starter’s gun to go off.
Bated is a shortened form of abated, which means to lessen or put on hold. The first recorded use of bated is in 1596 in Shakespeare’s play Merchant of Venice: “With bated breath, and whisp’ring humblenesse.” The expression is used in situations in which someone is waiting tensely for something to happen.

breath of fresh air 1. air which is not stale or smelly. (This is the literal sense.)
I feel faint. I think I need a breath of fresh air.
You look ill. John. What you need is a breath of fresh air
2. air which is not (figuratively) contaminated with unpleasant people or situations. (This is a sarcastic version of sense)
You people are disgusting. I have to get out of here and get a breath of fresh air.
I believe I’ll go get a breath of fresh air. The intellectual atmosphere in here is stijling.
3. a new, fresh, and imaginative approach (to something). (Usually with like.)
Sally, with all her wonderful ideas, is a breath of fresh air.
New furniture in this room is like a breath of fresh air.

breathe down someone’s neck 1. to keep close watch on someone; to watch someone’s activities. (Refers to standing very close behind a person.)
I can’t work with you breathing down my neck all the time. Go away.
I will getthrough my life without your help. Stop breathing down my neck.
2. to try to hurry someone along; to make someone get something done on time. (The subject does not have to be a person.)
I have to finish my taxes today. The tax collector is breathing down my neck.
I have a deadline breathing down my neck.

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breathe one’s last to die; to breathe one’s last breath. (A cliche.)
Mrs. Smith breathed her last this morning.
I’ll keep running every day until I breathe my last.

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