Definition of hold one's breath in English:

hold one's breath


  • 1Cease breathing temporarily.

    ‘he held his breath under the water’
    • ‘Remember to try tightening all your muscles, holding your breath, or breathing heavy.’
    • ‘This test involves breathing normally then holding your breath for as long as is comfortable.’
    • ‘When it ends, you realise that you've been holding your breath and, finally, exhale.’
    • ‘Don't inhale deeply or hold your breath, just breathe normally.’
    • ‘There was a squeal of laughter and Maple breathed out, unaware until now that she'd been holding her breath.’
    • ‘Performers may hold their breath or breathe rapidly and shallowly from the upper chest.’
    • ‘Don't hold your breath when you lift heavy weights.’
    • ‘He held his breath, afraid to breathe or make any noise.’
    • ‘You want to hold your breath, because it just doesn't feel healthy breathing it in.’
    • ‘Most often, when we are overly frightened, we either breathe much too quickly or we hold our breath.’
    1. 1.1 Be in a state of suspense or anticipation.
      ‘France held its breath while the Senate chose its new president’
      • ‘The answer, in case you were holding your breath, was a pretty resounding no.’
      • ‘I know you've all been waiting for me while holding your breath in anticipation of some sort of great leader, but I'm not.’
      • ‘We were really holding our breath throughout this entire production.’
      • ‘We've been having an academic discussion and holding our breath in this area for several years.’
      • ‘There are still a lot of people holding their breath, wondering how this launch will go.’