hold one's breath

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hold one's breath (third-person singular simple present holds one's breath, present participle holding one's breath, simple past and past participle held one's breath)

  1. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see hold,‎ one's,‎ breath. To keep air in one's lungs, pausing noticeably before exhaling after previously inhaling.
  2. (idiomatic, usually in a negative) To wait expectantly for something to happen soon.
    He might pay back the money he borrowed without you reminding him, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
    • 2008, Linda Robinson, Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq, page 271:
      Petraeus hoped they would succeed, and lent his support, but he was not holding his breath.
    • 2021 October 6, Christian Wolmar, “Both sides must work together to get London back on track”, in RAIL, number 941, page 35:
      It would be nice to think there are grown-ups in the Government ready to sort out the mess for the sake of London and its people... but I'm not holding my breath.

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