Idiom:  under one’s breath


Idiom:  under one’s breath

  • speaking very quietly with a whisper (low voice) so it's difficult for others to hear

Note:  This phrase is frequently used to describe when someone says a negative statement very quietly. This can be emphasized by using the form "curse (someone) under one's breath).

Example sentences

— Whenever I asked my kids to do their chores they complain under their breath.

— This morning my father was grateful when I reminded him under my breath that it was my mother's birthday.

— We could believe it when the little old lady cursed the policeman under her breath.

— The principal said you were suspended today for calling your teacher a "bit--" under your breath.

— My friend pretended she was sick and told me the answers to the pop-up quiz under her breath every time she coughed or blew her nose.

— I know everyone hates the new rules because I heard a lot of muttering under their breaths after the announcement.

— "You're a terrible person," Karen said under her breath. Her father turned around quickly and demanded, "What did you say?" Karen lied, "I said that I hope you don't think I'm a terrible person." 

— I'm tired of you always muttering under your breath. If you have something to say to me then just say it.

— I wanted to scream at my boss today but I just muttered, "Fine, I'll work overtime again tonight" under my breath as I left the room.

— My boss actually heard me when I cursed her under my breath so things are not too good between us right now.

— As he walked by my desk, the quarterback of the football team just said "Hey babe" to me under his breath.

— I'm pretty sure the director heard what you said to me under your breath because he looked shocked right after you said it.


  • between the teeth
  • speak in muted tones
  • say in hushed tones
  • stage-whisper
  • speak to oneself

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