take one's breath away

take (one's) breath away

To cause someone to feel intense, typically pleasant, astonishment or awe. Did you see Kathy's gorgeous new dress? It took my breath away. The play is stunning—it will take your breath away!
See also: away, breath, take

take one's breath away

Astonish or shock one, with pleasure, surprise, or some other emotion. For example, That beautiful display just takes my breath away. This idiom alludes to the way one holds one's breath when overcome with sudden emotion. [Mid-1800s]
See also: away, breath, take
References in classic literature ?
The great Admiral and good seaman could read aright the signs of sea and sky, as his order to prepare to anchor at the end of the day sufficiently proves; but, all the same, the mere idea of these baffling easterly airs, coming on at any time within half an hour or so, after the firing of the first shot, is enough to take one's breath away, with the image of the rearmost ships of both divisions falling off, unmanageable, broadside on to the westerly swell, and of two British Admirals in desperate jeopardy.