breathe down somebody's neck


1. watch someone close enough to cause them discomfort






Check Icon How to Memorize

I don't want someone breathing down my neck

Check Icon 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.

Check Icon 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.

Check Icon 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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