To feel calm or relieved because a stressful situation has ended. With your thesis defense finished, you can finally breathe easy! All week, I was worried about having to give that presentation, so I can breathe easy again now that it's done!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
breathe something (of something) (to someone)
to tell something to someone. (Usually in the negative.) Don't breathe a word of this to anyone! I won't breathe a word!
to assume a relaxed state after a stressful period. After this crisis is over, I'll be able to breathe easy again. He won't be able to breathe easy until he pays off his debts.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Also, breathe easily or freely . Relax, feel relieved from anxiety, stress, or tension. For example, Now that exams are over with, I can breathe easy, or Whenever I'm back in the mountains, I can breathe freely again. This idiom originally (late 1500s) was put as breathe again, implying that one had stopped breathing (or held one's breath) while feeling anxious or nervous. Shakespeare had it in King John (4:2): "Now I breathe again aloft the flood." The variant dates from the first half of the 1800s.
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.
To be relaxed or relieved, especially after a period of tension.
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.