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

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

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

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
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.
The "Hammer Home Your Opinion" ad in each issue shows a guy holding his breath while swinging a sledgehammer.
A SPORTY schoolboy died in a swimming pool trying to beat his previous record for holding his breath under water.
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.
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.
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.
Not to burst everyone's bubble, but don't you think that even an illogical illusionist like David Blaine, who has submerged himself in a giant aquarium and stands to suffer irreversible brain damage from oxygen deprivation while trying to pull off his latest May Sweeps TV stunt, has stopped holding his breath waiting for a L.
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.
Unfortunately, proving the theory would require actual samples of these asteroids or their meteoritic messengers, and Brownlee says he isn't holding his breath for that.
And when dad got to him, he was still holding his breath and trying to kick back to the wall.
TEARY-eyed David Blaine looked like a big drip after he failed to set a new record for holding his breath underwater.