hold (one's) breath

(redirected from holding my 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 get the Frisbee.
2. To wait for something specific to happen. In this usage, the phrase is usually 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 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 ?
she mustn't waken before seven at the latest," I said to myself, holding my breath and starting in terror at every noise.
I was ready to burst with holding my breath, when, as I felt myself rising up, so, to my immediate relief, I found my head and hands shoot out above the surface of the water; and though it was not two seconds of time that I could keep myself so, yet it relieved me greatly, gave me breath, and new courage.
I've learnt the technique of holding my breath without nitrox for four-and-a-half minutes.
Author Sidura Ludwig is visiting her former home of Birmingham to launch her debut novel Holding My Breath.
Judge Kozinski gives me enough pause to want to keep holding my breath.
I was holding my breath - here's my little girl out there and everyone's watching her, especially watching her.
Being a dancer here I felt like I was holding my breath waiting for my career to take off," she says.
I found myself holding my breath more times than I care to mention.
Art history says it should, but I'm not holding my breath.
Who knows, we might just see someone overtake as well, although I'm not holding my breath on that one.
As for me, my car and my garage, I'm just holding my breath waiting for the insurance company's estimate.
I was holding my breath as it would have been great for the club financially and for prestige.
I'm not holding my breath,'' he said, noting that estimates of the state's budget shortfall for the next fiscal year range from $11 billion to $20 billion.
I'm not holding my breath,'' said Roberti, who served in the state Legislature for 27 years.