Definition of miss a beat in US English:

miss a beat


  • 1(of the heart) temporarily fail or appear to fail to beat.

    • ‘She would say her heart would miss a beat when she heard of an idea from me.’
    • ‘Shuddering at this, my heart missing a beat or two, my breathing becoming heavier, there's an even nastier surprise still waiting for me.’
    • ‘Whilst they weren't exactly throwing things about my heart missed a beat with every bang and crunch.’
    • ‘Paula, a Waterside community nurse and mum to two-year-old Eamon, has got used to her heart missing a beat when the phone rings.’
    • ‘Every morning, I nervously check the mail, every morning, my heart misses a beat.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it was difficult to stop my heart from missing a beat or two when I read the headline: Small plane crashes into Florida building.’
    • ‘I've never had a fanciable doctor who made my heart miss a beat.’
    • ‘Suddenly he stiffened and his heart missed a beat.’
    • ‘A typical pacemaker sends small electrical charges to the right atrium of the heart, which receives blood, and the right ventricle, which pumps it into the lungs, if the device senses the heart has missed a beat or is beating too slowly.’
    • ‘With a tearing sound a wide gash was introduced on the surface of the wonderful cloth and with it her heart missed a beat.’
  • 2informal usually with negative Hesitate or falter, especially in demanding circumstances or when making a transition from one activity to another.

    ‘his speech segued from child-care subsidies to nuclear disarmament, without missing a beat’
    • ‘The first was the variety of the programme, and the way the choir switched from accessible classical music to Broadway, spirituals, jazz and carols, and from high seriousness to sophisticated comedy, without missing a beat.’
    • ‘Just the other day, when I was looking a little rumpled, Joe looked and me and, without missing a beat, told me, ‘Steve, you look like a bush man!’’
    • ‘‘Because it makes me look pretty,’ said Bourne, without missing a beat.’
    • ‘However, Burns seems to feel that she made the transition to film without missing a beat, even to the point of acting as post-production supervisor.’
    • ‘She is supremely confident that he can't fail to notice her and sure enough a crack appears in his concentration and the music shifts noticeable to a simpler tune without missing a beat.’
    • ‘It's the lightness of touch that I'll miss, the sureness with which a Frasier script could go from drawing-room comedy to sheer farce to tragedy without missing a beat.’
    • ‘Without missing a beat, he moved on to the next table…’
    • ‘I swear, for the most part, people just passed by, glanced his way, then continued walking wherever they were going, not missing a beat.’
    • ‘In the first days, anti-globalization protesters made new signs and became the anti-war movement without missing a beat.’
    • ‘He juggles a complex cast with consummate ease, moving the story from the tense to the surreal - often within the same story - without missing a beat.’