take breath away

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take someone's breath away

1. Lit. to cause someone to be out of breath due to a shock or hard exercise. Running this fast takes my breath away. Mary frightened me and took my breath away.
2. Fig. to overwhelm someone with beauty or grandeur; to surprise or astound someone. The magnificent painting took my breath away. Ann looked so beautiful that she took my breath away.
See also: away, breath, take

take (one's) breath away

To put into a state of awe or shock.
See also: away, breath, take