out of breath

Idioms & Phrases

out of breath

Breathing with difficulty, panting, gasping. For example, After five flights of stairs I'm out of breath. This slightly hyperbolic term (since literally running out of breath means one is dead) dates from the late 1500s. Also see catch one's breath.

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