breathing space

breathing space

noun
1.
Also called breathing spell. an opportunity to rest or think.
2.
sufficient space in which to move, work, etc.: The train was so crowded that there was hardly breathing space.

Origin:
1640–50

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
breathing space
 
n
1.  enough area to permit freedom of movement: the country gives us some breathing space
2.  a pause for rest, etc: a coffee break was their only breathing space

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

breathing space

  1. Room or time in which to breathe, as in In that crowded hall, there was hardly any breathing space. Previously this term was put as . [Mid-1600s]

  2. A rest or pause. For example, I can't work at this all day; I need some breathing space. This usage replaced the earlier breathing while. [Mid-1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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