Astonish or shock one, with pleasure, surprise, or some other emotion. For example, That beautiful display just takes my breath away. This idiom alludes to the way one holds one's breath when overcome with sudden emotion. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.