breathe down somebody's neck

breathe down (one's) neck

1. To monitor someone closely, usually in an overbearing and irritating way. I just got another email from the boss asking about the status of this report, as if breathing down my neck is going to make me finish it faster!
2. To be physically close to someone in an unnerving or unwanted way. Back up, dude—I'll never make this shot with you breathing down my neck!
See also: breathe, down, neck

breathe down somebody’s ˈneck

(informal) watch somebody too closely, and so make them feel uncomfortable: I can’t work with people breathing down my neck the whole time.
See also: breathe, down, neck
References in classic literature ?
I had no notion of a kiln, such as the potters burn in, or of glazing them with lead, though I had some lead to do it with; but I placed three large pipkins and two or three pots in a pile, one upon another, and placed my firewood all round it, with a great heap of embers under them.