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move a muscle

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Bestir oneself even slightly. This idiom is usually put negatively, either with implied criticism, as in She won't move a muscle to help get dinner, or not, as in When I saw the deer, I stayed quite still, not daring to move a muscle. It was first recorded in 1889.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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