New and refreshing, as in His arrival was like a breath of fresh air. This term transfers the idea of fresh air to a new approach or welcome arrival, and has largely replaced both the earlier breath of heaven and breath of spring, although the latter is still heard occasionally. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.