catch (one's) breath

(redirected from caught their 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 one's breath

Fig. to struggle for normal breathing after strenuous activity. The jogger stopped to catch her breath. It took Jimmy a minute to catch his breath after being punched in the stomach.
See also: breath, catch

catch one's breath

1. Resume normal breathing after physical exertion of some kind, as in These stairs are steep; wait a minute till I catch my breath. This phrase once meant the same as hold one's breath-that is, stop breathing momentarily-a usage no longer current. [Early 1800s]
2. Relax, take a rest, as in Events have been moving so fast I'd like to stop and catch my breath. [First half of 1900s]
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

catch (one's) breath

To rest so as to be able to continue an activity.
See also: breath, catch
References in classic literature ?
Almost in the same instant, with a thunder-boom, the enormous mass dropped into the sea, like Niagara's Table-Rock into the whirlpool; the suddenly relieved hull rolled away from it, to far down her glittering copper; and all caught their breath, as half swinging --now over the sailors' heads, and now over the water --Daggoo, through a thick mist of spray, was dimly beheld clinging to the pendulous tackles, while poor, buried-alive Tashtego was sinking utterly down to the bottom of the sea
They dotted the hillside on their way up, talking with friends, reading Scripture passages that had been posted along the trail in preparation for the morning walk, and admiring the view as they caught their breath.