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

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

breast up

1. Of boats, to pull up alongside (abreast) another boat, as when traveling or mooring. We were enjoying the calm of the spring morning, when another boat breasted up and strangers began boarding our ship unannounced.
2. obsolete To cut the face of a plant, especially a hedge, on one side to reveal its stems. Please ask the gardener not to breast up the hedges like that. I know it's meant to promote growth, but I detest the look of the bare stems.
See also: breast, up

hope springs eternal in the human breast

proverb 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

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

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

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

make a clean breast of

To confess fully.
See also: breast, clean, make, of
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
"Where is the police?" roared the object of Roderick's persecution, at the same time giving an instinctive clutch to his breast. "Why is this lunatic allowed to go at large?"
"Profane wretch!" exclaimed the divine; but, nevertheless, his hand stole to his breast.
A man of impure life, and a brazen face, asking Roderick if there were any serpent in his breast, he told him that there was, and of the same species that once tortured Don Rodrigo, the Goth.
And then, as the by-standers afterwards affirmed, a hissing sound was heard, apparently in Roderick Elliston's breast. It was said, too, that an answering hiss came from the vitals of the shipmaster, as if a snake were actually lurking there and had been aroused by the call of its brother reptile.
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.
Not so with Kala; she held the small form of the little Lord Greystoke tightly to her breast, where the dainty hands clutched the long black hair which covered that portion of her body.
He turned and saw her with the balu hugged close to her hairy breast, and put out his hands to take the little one, expecting that Teeka would bare her fangs and spring upon him; but instead she placed the balu in his arms, and coming nearer, licked his frightful wounds.
Dames of elevated rank, likewise, whose doors she entered in the way of her occupation, were accustomed to distil drops of bitterness into her heart; sometimes through that alchemy of quiet malice, by which women can concoct a subtle poison from ordinary trifles; and sometimes, also, by a coarser expression, that fell upon the sufferer's defenceless breast like a rough blow upon an ulcerated wound.
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.
Hailing his softened tone and manner, his daughter fell upon her knees before him, with her appealing hands upon his breast.
If you touch, in touching my hair, anything that recalls a beloved head that lay on your breast when you were young and free, weep for it, weep for it!
She held him closer round the neck, and rocked him on her breast like a child.
He had sunk in her arms, and his face dropped on her breast: a sight so touching, yet so terrible in the tremendous wrong and suffering which had gone before it, that the two beholders covered their faces.
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.