beat (one's) breast

(redirected from beat his breast)

beat (one's) breast

To publicly express emotions or views that one does not actually feel or support. During election season, all the candidates beat their breasts about how much they love our communities—and then they get into office and slash community initiatives.
See also: beat, breast

beat your breast

or

beat your chest

COMMON If someone beats their breast or beats their chest, they publicly show regret or anger about something that has happened. At this month's meeting of the party's Central Committee, the party leader beat his breast with ritual self-criticism. Why don't you both stop beating your chests and do something productive? Note: You can describe the action of doing this as breast-beating or chest-beating. His breast-beating on behalf of the working classes always seemed false to me. Note: You usually use these expressions to suggest that the person is not being sincere but is trying to draw attention to himself or herself.
See also: beat, breast

beat your breast

make a great show of sorrow or regret.
See also: beat, breast
References in classic literature ?
Higher and higher every day, Till over the mast at noon-- The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud bassoon.
The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast, Yet he cannot chuse but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner.
Laurie went by in the afternoon, and seeing Meg at the window, seemed suddenly possessed with a melodramatic fit, for he fell down on one knee in the snow, beat his breast, tore his hair, and clasped his hands imploringly, as if begging some boon.
But when he had time to reflect, and saw what was in the lot, he began to beat his breast and lament over his choice, forgetting the proclamation of the prophet; for, instead of throwing the blame of his misfortune on himself, he accused chance and the gods, and everything rather than himself.
The pause was becoming very awkward, when Charlie, who possessed all the persuasive arts of a born scapegrace, went slowly down upon his knees before her, beat his breast, and said, in a heart-broken tone
Tom raved like a madman, beat his breast, tore his hair, stamped on the ground, and vowed the utmost vengeance on all who had been concerned.
The coachmaker would have been dissolved in tears, and would have knelt down, and called himself names, and clasped his hands, and beat his breast, and tugged wildly at his cravat, and done all kinds of poetry.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Today we must have the courage of the tax collector in the Gospel, who humbly did not dare even to raise his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast saying "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Today is the day for courage!
Glowering like a piqued Heathcliff, Iversen beat his breast and bared his teeth as he sang of eternal wretchedness, lost love and futile longing.
While Adebayor remains unrepentant about the former, he told Zoo Magazine that he has made his apologies for the latter in person, although he will not continue to beat his breast or ask for forgiveness.
Having worn Celtic's jersey and beat his breast when he scored for Celtic against Rangers on the way to winning one half of that special achievement means Miller will never have the affection of an element within the Rangers support.
I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all tat I get." But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"
I'd feel far less tolerant, however, if my man felt the need to beat his breast publicly over the demise of his marriage.
- beat his breast and declared that the independence of the judiciary was dearer to him than words could describe.