under one's breath


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under (one's) breath

Spoken in such a soft, quiet voice that others cannot hear it distinctly. "You'll get what's coming to you one of these days," Janet muttered under her breath.
See also: breath
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

under one's breath

Softly, in an undertone or whisper, as in "I can't stand one more minute of that music," she muttered under her breath. This idiom, first recorded in 1832, is probably a hyperbole, alluding to a sound that is softer than breathing.
See also: breath
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.

under one's breath

In a whisper or an undertone. Presumably this term is a hyperbole for something softer than breathing. It dates from the early nineteenth century. Edward Bulwer-Lytton used it in Eugene Aram (1832): “Hush, said Ellinor under her breath.”
See also: breath
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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