Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

breathe down somebody's neck

breathe down somebody's neck
1) watch someone close enough to cause them discomfort
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • I don't want someone breathing down my neck
  • Analysis
    The idiom 'to breathe down someone's neck' has a number of potential meanings; 1. To monitor someone closely in an uncomfortable way: "I like the role I'm in but my supervisor is always breathing down my neck. I'm terrified to make a mistake." 2. To be physically close to someone in a way that crosses their personal boundaries or is uncomfortable: "I had to move away from Frank. He was breathing down my neck." 3. To pursue someone intently in a predatory way: "The committee was following his every move and breathing down his neck in the hope that he would slip up and make a mistake." This idiom can be used in social and professional situations to describe feeling uncomfortable due to the behaviour of someone else.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. After the student was caught cheating on the test, the teacher was always breathing down her neck.
    2. Every time I try to cook something with my mother-in-law around she's always breathing down my neck watching if I have done it correctly.
  • Professional Examples (Advance)
    1. My boss tends to breathe down my neck every time a deadline approaches. I wish she would just back off.
    2. I need more autonomy in work, I get nervous when people are breathing down my neck all the time.
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