hold (one's) breath

(redirected from holding his breath)

hold (one's) breath

1. To intentionally stop breathing for a short period of time. I can't hold my breath for very long, so I doubt I'll be able to swim down deep enough to grab the rings.
2. To wait for something specific to happen. In this usage, the phrase is usually used in the negative. The electrician said he'd be here before noon, but I won't hold my breath. She wrote a letter of complaint to the airline asking for a refund, but she said she isn't holding her breath.
See also: breath, hold
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hold one's breath

 
1. Lit. to stop breathing for a short period, on purpose. Do you hold your breath when you dive into the water? I can't hold my breath for very long.
2. Fig. to wait or delay until something special happens. (Usually in the negative. See also Don't hold your breath.) I expect the mail to be delivered soon, but I'm not holding my breath. It's often late.
See also: breath, hold
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hold one's breath

1. Be excited, anxious, or nervous. For example, The election was so close that I held my breath until the final results were in, or I'm holding my breath until every-one's been heard from. This expression alludes to the interruption of normal breathing; the literal usage dating from the early 1700s.
2. not hold one's breath. An expression used to mean one is not awaiting something, as in I'm hoping to hear if I got the job, but I'm not holding my breath. It often is put as an imperative, don't hold your breath, meaning "don't expect it, it's not likely," as in They may get married this summer, but don't hold your breath. This expression in effect implies it is unwise to stop breathing until a particular event occurs, since it may never come to pass. [Slang; mid-1900s]
See also: breath, hold
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.

hold your ˈbreath


1 stop breathing for a short time, for example because you are afraid of something or very anxious about something: I held my breath as the car skidded towards me.
2 be anxious while you are waiting for something that you are worried about: ‘When will you hear about your job application?’ ‘Not till next week. I’m holding my breath until then.’
3 (informal) don’t hold your breath used for telling somebody that it’s not worth waiting for something: We’ll let you know if there’s any work for you, but don’t hold your breath.
See also: breath, hold
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
He turned abruptly to the left and, holding his breath, stood against the wall.
Rostov, holding his breath, looked round at the borzois.
Imam Eldio Gulisan has recently clocked in a personal record of 5:01 minutes of holding his breath in the static apnea event held in Moalboal a few weeks ago.
Scott was allegedly told by farm manager Andrew Stocker, 57, to select apples while holding his breath, a process known as "scuba diving" at the Blackmoor Estate, near Liss, Hants.
He told investigators he fainted while holding his breath as he passed through the tunnel.
The "Hammer Home Your Opinion" ad in each issue shows a guy holding his breath while swinging a sledgehammer.
When he stops panting and closes his mouth, he is "holding his breath." Then, when you see his nostrils flare, he is breathing.
If Tony Blair is holding his breath, it is apparent only because he sleeps like a baby.
TEARY-EYED David Blaine looked like a big drip after failing to set a new record for holding his breath underwater.
As illusionist David Blaine last night prepared to smash a world record by holding his breath for nine minutes a leading water safety charity has criticised his latest stunt.
Stunt artist David Blaine, above, was pulled from an aquarium in New York by divers nearly two minutes short of his world record goal for holding his breath underwater.
STUNT artist David Blaine (below) was pulled from an aquarium in New York by divers nearly two minutes short of his goal of setting a world record for holding his breath underwater.
ROBERT Croft has offered his services to England - but he won't be holding his breath for a call-up.
Pierce is holding his breath, however, waiting to see whether the current release of pressure will result in a violent explosion at the surface.
If he keeps holding his breath, he may turn purple or blue.