be breathing down (one's) neck

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be breathing down (one's) neck

1. To be monitoring one closely, usually in an overbearing and irritating way. The boss is constantly breathing down my neck about this project—as if that will make me finish it faster!
2. To be physically close to one in an unnerving or unwanted way. Back up, dude—I'll never make this shot if you're breathing down my neck like that!
3. To be advancing on an opponent, typically in a race. I ultimately won the race, but the girl who came in second place was really breathing down my neck.
See also: breathing, down, neck
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

be breathing down someone's neck

1. In a race or other competitive situation, if someone is breathing down your neck, they are close behind you and may soon catch up with you or beat you. I took the lead with Colin Chapman breathing down my neck in his Lotus Eleven. Both players have talented rivals breathing down their necks.
2. If someone is breathing down your neck, they are closely watching and checking everything that you do. Most farmers have bank managers breathing down their necks, so everything has to have an economic reason. Lawyers have been working into the night to complete legal documents, with civil servants breathing down their necks.
See also: breathing, down, neck
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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