collect (one's) thoughts

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collect (one's) thoughts

To pause and think before speaking or taking action. Can I please just have a second to collect my thoughts before I respond? Susie paused to collect her thoughts and come up with a tactful response to her seething sister.
See also: collect, thought

collect one's thoughts

Fig. to take time to think through an issue; to give some thought to a topic. I'll speak to the visitors in a moment. I need some time to collect my thoughts.
See also: collect, thought
References in classic literature ?
The affair has so terribly impressed me that even now I cannot fully collect my thoughts. It would scarcely be believed that a human being could die so simply--and he such a poor, needy wretch, this Gorshkov!
"Has been here some days--three or four--I don't know how many-- I can't collect my thoughts. An errand of generosity brought him here unknown to us; he was stopped at the barrier, and sent to prison."
So soon as I could at all collect my thoughts, I sent for Joram, and begged him to provide me a conveyance in which it could be got to London in the night.
I will sit in the parlor awhile, and collect my thoughts. It has been my custom for more years, child, than you have lived!" While thus dismissing her, the maiden lady stept forward, kissed Phoebe, and pressed her to her heart, which beat against the girl's bosom with a strong, high, and tumultuous swell.
I could not collect my thoughts. Clutching the woodwork of the galley for support,--and I confess the grease with which it was scummed put my teeth on edge,--I reached across a hot cooking-range to the offending utensil, unhooked it, and wedged it securely into the coal-box.
'I need some time off to collect my thoughts. It's my responsibility to repackage myself.
"I will collect my thoughts and try my best to forgive regardless of the fact no remorse has ever been shown.
"Emma was so supportive and Eckersley House offered me some respite - a haven where I could collect my thoughts and overcome my demons and get my strength back for Aston."
Viveka said: "It's hard to collect my thoughts and they are mixed with tears that never want to stop flowing.
I walked away to collect my thoughts but then went back to take a proper look.
It is a fine place to collect my thoughts, no boats drift on this quiet Wednesday with feather clouds foretelling more storms so I enjoy my time here whilst I may on this rare sun-kissed mid-November day.
But I'm determined to do this, both to collect my thoughts about mum and dad and to help Maggie's.
I've got to try to collect my thoughts and move onto the next race."
It took me about 24 hours to collect my thoughts and tell my husband - I thought it would worry him.
4 : to gain or regain control of <After losing my way, I had to stop and collect my thoughts.>