catch your breath

catch (one's) breath

1. To resume or try to resume breathing normally after a physically taxing activity that results in heavy breathing. Can we stop for a minute? I need to catch my breath—I can't run as fast as you guys!
2. To stop breathing momentarily as a result of fear or surprise. I caught my breath when I saw the gruesome injuries Adam had sustained in the accident.
See also: breath, catch

catch your ˈbreath

stop breathing for a moment (because of surprise, fear, shock, etc.): The magnificent view made us catch our breath.
See also: breath, catch