in the same breath


  1. the air inhaled and exhaled in respiration.
  2. respiration, especially as necessary to life.
  3. life; vitality.
  4. the ability to breathe easily and normally: She stopped to regain her breath.
  5. time to breathe; pause or respite: Give him a little breath.
  6. a single inhalation or respiration: He took a deep breath.
  7. the brief time required for a single respiration; a moment or instant: They gave it to her and took it away all in a breath.
  8. a slight suggestion, hint, or whisper: The breath of slander never touched her.
  9. a light current of air.
  10. Phonetics.
    1. the air drawn into or expelled from the lungs to provide the generative source for most speech sounds.
    2. the audible expiration generating voiceless speech sounds, as (p), (k), (sh), etc.
  11. moisture emitted in respiration, especially when condensed and visible.
  12. a trivial circumstance; trifle.
  13. an odorous exhalation, or the air impregnated by it.
  14. Obsolete. exhalation or vapor.
  1. below/under one’s breath, in a low voice or whisper; sotto voce: He protested under his breath because he was afraid to speak up.
  2. catch one’s breath, to pause or rest before continuing an activity or beginning a new one; resume regular breathing: Let me catch my breath before I begin anything new.
  3. in the same breath, at virtually the same time; almost simultaneously: She lost her temper and apologized in the same breath.
  4. out of breath, exhausted or gasping for breath, in consequence of an effort; breathless: After climbing to the top of the tower, we were so out of breath that we had to sit down.
  5. save one’s breath, to avoid futile talk or discussion: We were told to save our breath because the matter had already been decided.
  6. take away one’s breath, to make one as if breathless with astonishment; surprise; stun: The sheer beauty of the sea took away my breath.Also take one’s breath away.


  1. the intake and expulsion of air during respiration
  2. the air inhaled or exhaled during respiration
  3. a single respiration or inhalation of air, etc
  4. the vapour, heat, or odour of exhaled airhis breath on the window melted the frost
  5. a slight gust of air
  6. a short pause or resttake a breath for five minutes
  7. a brief timeit was done in a breath
  8. a suggestion or slight evidence; suspiciona breath of scandal
  9. a whisper or soft sound
  10. life, energy, or vitalitythe breath of new industry
  11. phonetics the passage of air through the completely open glottis without vibration of the vocal cords, as in exhaling or pronouncing fricatives such as (f) or (h) or stops such as (p) or (k)Compare voice (def. 11)
  12. a breath of fresh air a refreshing change from what one is used to
  13. catch one’s breath to rest until breathing is normal, esp after exertion
  14. hold one’s breath to wait expectantly or anxiously
  15. in the same breath done or said at the same time
  16. out of breath gasping for air after exertion
  17. save one’s breath to refrain from useless talk
  18. take one’s breath away to overwhelm with surprise, etc
  19. under one’s breath or below one’s breath in a quiet voice or whisper

Old English bræð “odor, scent, stink, exhalation, vapor” (Old English word for “air exhaled from the lungs” was æðm), from Proto-Germanic *bræthaz “smell, exhalation” (cf. Old High German bradam, German Brodem “breath, steam”), from PIE root *gwhre- “to breathe, smell.”


  1. The air inhaled and exhaled in respiration.
  2. A single respiration.

Also, in one breath. At or almost at the same time. For example, Ed complains about having too much homework and in the same breath talks about going out every night, or The twins said, in one breath, “More cake, please.” [Mid-1800s]


not in the same breath. Not to be compared. For example, Karen’s a good runner, but you can’t speak of her in the same breath as an Olympic athlete. Also see in the same league.

In addition to the idiom beginning with breath

  • breathe down someone’s neck
  • breathe easy
  • breathe life into
  • breathe one’s last
  • breathing space
  • breath of fresh air

also see:

  • catch one’s breath
  • hold one’s breath
  • in the same breath
  • out of breath
  • save one’s breath
  • take one’s breath away
  • under one’s breath
  • waste one’s breath
  • with bated breath
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