catch (one's) breath

(redirected from caught their breath)

catch (one's) breath

1. To resume or try to resume breathing normally after a physically taxing activity that results in heavy breathing. Can we stop for a minute? I need to catch my breath—I can't run as fast as you guys!
2. To stop breathing momentarily as a result of fear or surprise. I caught my breath when I saw the gruesome injuries Adam had sustained in the accident.
See also: breath, catch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

catch one's breath

Fig. to struggle for normal breathing after strenuous activity. The jogger stopped to catch her breath. It took Jimmy a minute to catch his breath after being punched in the stomach.
See also: breath, catch
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

catch one's breath

1. Resume normal breathing after physical exertion of some kind, as in These stairs are steep; wait a minute till I catch my breath. This phrase once meant the same as hold one's breath-that is, stop breathing momentarily-a usage no longer current. [Early 1800s]
2. Relax, take a rest, as in Events have been moving so fast I'd like to stop and catch my breath. [First half of 1900s]
See also: breath, catch
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.

catch your ˈbreath

stop breathing for a moment (because of surprise, fear, shock, etc.): The magnificent view made us catch our breath.
See also: breath, catch
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

catch (one's) breath

To rest so as to be able to continue an activity.
See also: breath, catch
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.
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References in classic literature ?
Almost in the same instant, with a thunder-boom, the enormous mass dropped into the sea, like Niagara's Table-Rock into the whirlpool; the suddenly relieved hull rolled away from it, to far down her glittering copper; and all caught their breath, as half swinging --now over the sailors' heads, and now over the water --Daggoo, through a thick mist of spray, was dimly beheld clinging to the pendulous tackles, while poor, buried-alive Tashtego was sinking utterly down to the bottom of the sea!
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