catch one's breath

[catch one's breath] {v. phr.} 1. To breathe in suddenly with fear or surprise.

The beauty of the scene made him catch his breath.

Compare: TAKE ONE'S BREATH AWAY.

2a. To rest and get back your normal breathing, as after running.

After running to the bus stop, we sat down to catch our breath.

2b. To relax for a moment after any work.

After the day's work we sat down over coffee to catch our breath.