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Don't hold your breath

Don't wait, because it's not going to happen


Don't hold your breath = darauf kannst Du lange warten, mach Dir keine Hoffnungen --- GOOGLE INDEX don't hold your breath: approximately 1,500,000 Google hits



Waiting for NASDAQ 5,000? DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH, say strategists

(Yahoo! Finance)

If you're still waiting for Firefox on Windows 8, DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH

(The Register)

Did you

don't hold your breath

- something that you say in order to tell someone that an event is not likely to happen

(Cambridge Idioms Dictionary)

The wonderful thing about idioms is that they paint a picture that is oftentimes more vivid than articulating something literally, even though they sometimes might sound drastic. But that's exactly the point. The idea is to exaggerate.

Holding your breath is a fine example of this concept. A bit of caution is advised when using it however, because it requires the right situation. For instance, if you are watching your favourite football team with friends and someone says, "I think we're going to win the league championship this year," you could jokingly say, "Don't hold your breath."

But if your boss inquires about your weekly report and you respond by saying, "Don't hold your breath," it conveys the wrong message. It comes across as arrogant, cheeky and would probably "take his breath away" (to extremely surprise him).

In this situation, it would be better to simply "save your breath" (to not say anything) or "take a deep breath" (to pause and think) before saying anything. If you still feel obliged to comment, then say it "under your breath" (to say something quietly so that others cannot hear your exact words).

SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation

"Do you really think our flight will depart on time? Don't hold your breath."

Thanks to Cordelia for suggesting today's word!

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