Don't hold your breath


      • Don't expect something to happen
        To advise someone not to rely on or expect a certain outcome or event to occur, as it is unlikely or uncertain

      • Don't wait too long
        To caution against delaying or waiting for something, as it is unlikely to happen in the near future

      • Don't get your hopes up
        To discourage someone from having high expectations or anticipating a certain outcome, as it is unlikely to happen

    Examples of Don't hold your breath

    • I've been waiting for this promotion for years, but my boss seems to have forgotten all about it. Don't hold your breath, it might never happen.

      This idiom is used when someone is expressing doubt or skepticism about the likelihood of an event occurring. It suggests that the person may wait a long time, possibly indefinitely, without any result. The phrase "hold your breath" is used figuratively, as holding one's breath for an extended period is physically impossible.

    • The government has promised to address the issue of climate change, but their actions have been lackluster at best. Don't hold your breath for any significant progress.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used to express frustration or disappointment with a situation. It suggests that the person has lost faith in the ability of the government to make a difference and believes that little or nothing will change.

    • My husband has been promising to fix the leaky faucet for weeks, but it's still dripping away. Don't hold your breath for a quick fix.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used in a humorous or lighthearted way. It suggests that the person has grown tired of waiting for their husband to take action and is resigned to the fact that the problem may persist for some time.

    • The company has announced a new product, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Don't hold your breath for a game-changer.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used to express caution or skepticism. It suggests that the person is aware of the company's track record and is not expecting a major breakthrough or innovation.

    • My daughter has been practicing for her ballet recital, but she's still a little wobbly on her feet. Don't hold your breath for a perfect performance.

      This example shows how the idiom can be used to express a realistic or pragmatic viewpoint. It suggests that the person recognizes that their daughter may not be completely flawless in her performance and is prepared for some imperfections.


    The idiom "don't hold your breath" is often used in a figurative sense to caution against expecting or waiting for something to happen. It can also be used to advise someone not to have high hopes or expectations for a particular outcome. The underlying message is to not rely on something that is uncertain or unlikely to occur.

    This idiom can be used in a variety of situations, such as when giving advice to a friend who is hoping for a promotion at work or when discussing the likelihood of a sports team winning a championship. It can also be used to express skepticism or doubt about a future event or outcome.

    Origin of "Don't hold your breath"

    The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated from the literal meaning of holding one's breath. In the past, people used to hold their breath in anticipation or excitement, and this phrase may have evolved from that action. It is also possible that this phrase originated from the expression "to hold one's breath in suspense," meaning to wait anxiously for something to happen.

    Another theory suggests that this idiom may have originated from a belief that holding one's breath can bring good luck or make a wish come true. In this context, the phrase would be used to caution against relying on luck or wishful thinking.

    Regardless of its exact origin, "don't hold your breath" has become a common idiom in the English language, used to advise against unrealistic expectations or relying on uncertain outcomes.