atmosphere

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clear the atmosphere

To alleviate tension, often in a group setting. Similar to the phrase "clear the air." I know my parents are still mad at me for missing curfew, so I'm going to try to clear the atmosphere this morning by apologizing profusely.
See also: atmosphere, clear

you could cut the atmosphere with a knife

The situation was very tense and perhaps on the verge of conflict. Today was the first meeting since Hal got promoted to be his old supervisor's boss, and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife.
See also: atmosphere, could, cut, knife

you could cut the atmosphere with a knife

If you say you could cut the atmosphere with a knife, you mean that the atmosphere in a place is extremely tense or unfriendly. There have been some embarrassing silences at meal times. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Note: You can use air, or a word such as tension that refers to an unpleasant feeling, instead of atmosphere. As soon as we entered the church, you could cut the air with a knife. At secondary school, the tension on parents' nights can be cut with a knife.
See also: atmosphere, could, cut, knife

an atmosphere that you could cut with a knife

a general feeling of great tension or malevolence.
See also: atmosphere, could, cut, knife, that

you could ˌcut the atmosphere with a ˈknife

(informal) used to say that the emotional tension, embarrassment, etc. shared by a group of people is very great: When John came in with his new girlfriend, you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife.
See also: atmosphere, could, cut, knife

a heavy ˈsilence/ˈatmosphere

a situation when people do not say anything, but feel embarrassed or uncomfortable: There was a heavy silence for a few minutes before anybody spoke.
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