breast


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bare (one's) breast

1. To expose oneself in a vulnerable or unguarded position, especially to that which may cause harm or distress. I bare my breast to you, so do as you will. I am at your mercy! He bared his breast to the armed guards to show that he was not a threat.
2. To share with another person one's private emotions and thoughts, especially those that are emotionally troubling or make oneself vulnerable to the other person in some way. I bared my breast to Samantha and told her how much I loved her.
See also: bare, breast

make a clean breast

To confess one's misdeeds or wrongdoings. I felt so guilty about cheating on the test that I had to make a clean breast of it to my teacher.
See also: breast, clean, make

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

make a clean breast of it

To confess one's misdeeds or wrongdoings. I felt so guilty about cheating on the test that I had to make a clean breast of it to my teacher.
See also: breast, clean, make, of

make a clean breast of (something)

To confess one's misdeeds or wrongdoings. I felt so guilty about cheating on the test that I had to make a clean breast of it to my teacher.
See also: breast, clean, make, of

hope springs eternal in the human breast

People can always find a reason to hope, even in the bleakest situations. The phrase comes from Alexander Pope's poem Essay on Man. We don't know how this business venture will work out, but hope springs eternal in the human breast, right?

make a clean breast of something (to someone)

Fig. to admit something to someone. You should make a clean breast of the matter to someone. You'll feel better if you make a clean breast of the incident.
See also: breast, clean, make, of

keep abreast of

Stay or cause to stay up-to-date with, as in He's keeping abreast of the latest weather reports, or Please keep me abreast of any change in his condition. This term alludes to the nautical sense of abreast, which describes ships keeping up with each other. [Late 1600s]
See also: abreast, keep, of

make a clean breast of

Confess fully, as in Caught shoplifting, the girls decided to make a clean breast of it to their parents. This expression, first recorded in 1752, uses clean breast in the sense of baring of one's heart, the breast long considered the seat of private or secret feelings.
See also: breast, clean, make, of

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

make a clean breast of something

If you make a clean breast of something, you tell the whole truth about it. `But what shall I tell my parents?' — `You'll have to make a clean breast of it, dear.' If you make a clean breast of your problems, creditors are much more likely to deal fairly with you.
See also: breast, clean, make, of, something

beat your breast

make a great show of sorrow or regret.
See also: beat, breast

make a clean breast of something (or of it)

confess your mistakes or wrongdoings.
In former times, many people believed that the breast or chest was where a person's conscience was located. The breast is still used metaphorically to represent the seat of the emotions.
See also: breast, clean, make, of, something

make a clean ˈbreast of something

admit fully something that you have done wrong: He decided to make a clean breast of it and tell the police.
See also: breast, clean, make, of, something

make a clean breast of

To confess fully.
See also: breast, clean, make, of

make a clean breast of something, to

To make a full confession. The word breast here is a synonym for “heart,” long considered the seat of private emotion and, by extension, secrets. Shakespeare referred to cleansing one’s bosom in Macbeth (5.3). The current cliché dates from the early eighteenth century.
See also: breast, clean, make, of
References in classic literature ?
And then, as the by-standers afterwards affirmed, a hissing sound was heard, apparently in Roderick Elliston's breast.
They succeeded in rendering Roderick insensible; but, placing their hands upon his breast, they were inexpressibly horror stricken to feel the monster wriggling, twining, and darting to and fro within his narrow limits, evidently enlivened by the opium or alcohol, and incited to unusual feats of activity.
Be the truth as it might, it is certain that Roderick Elliston sat up like a man renewed, restored to his right mind, and rescued from the fiend which had so miserably overcome him in the battle-field of his own breast.
Can a breast, where it has dwelt so long, be purified?
When the news was noised abroad, it was observed that many persons walked the streets with freer countenances and covered their breasts less carefully with their hands.
Sometimes the red infamy upon her breast would give a sympathetic throb, as she passed near a venerable minister or magistrate, the model of piety and justice, to whom that age of antique reverence looked up, as to a mortal man in fellowship with angels.
She held him closer round the neck, and rocked him on her breast like a child.
When the quiet of the garret had been long undisturbed, and his heaving breast and shaken form had long yielded to the calm that must follow all storms--emblem to humanity, of the rest and silence into which the storm called Life must hush at last--they came forward to raise the father and daughter from the ground.
For the last two years, scientists across the country have been working together in a highly collaborative effort to uncover the links between exposure to environmental pollutants, puberty, and development of breast cancer.
When Arlene Dobren's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 30 years ago, the cancer had already spread to her liver.
Just minutes after rocker Melissa Etheridge posted notice on her Web site October 8 that she was being treated for breast cancer, her message board was bombarded with hundreds of supportive notes from fans.
Greco noticed discoloration and swelling in the breast of the naked figure of Bathsheba in Rembrant's painting, Bathsheba at Her Bath.
A mammogram is used to detect and diagnose breast disease in women who have breast symptoms (lump, pain or nipple discharge) and in women who are asymptomatic.
Women with breast cancer who undergo partial-breast removal are just as likely to survive for at least 20 years as are women who have their entire breast removed, scientists in Italy and the United States report.