Definition of gather (or collect) one's wits in US English:

gather (or collect) one's wits


  • Allow oneself to think calmly and clearly in a demanding situation.

    • ‘I gathered my wits and managed a smile. It was a scene beyond my philosophy, beyond my understanding.’
    • ‘After gathering her wits, she ran outside, in search of her two boys.’
    • ‘At last, gathering her wits about her, Daphne waddled back to her master to tell him what had happened at the river's edge.’
    • ‘Shaken up herself, Phoebe decided to make an opportune exit, allowing herself as well as Jess to gather their wits about them once again.’
    • ‘When the sun moved round and the shade fell on me once more, I stretched, yawned, gathered my wits from wherever they'd fallen, and sauntered over to the shop for bread and milk.’
    • ‘They are made to open, so you can leave and take time to gather your wits and return when you calm down.’
    • ‘Yesterday, I was smiled at as I peered in: this was such an unusual reaction I had to flee to Smith City's Second Hand Centre for half an hour to gather my wits, but eventually I made my way back.’
    • ‘I flail in terror to the nearest bank, where I try to gather my wits.’
    • ‘I realized that I needed to take a deep breath, gather my wits and focus.’
    • ‘I gathered my wits and choked out the expected response through the bit gag.’