collect one's thoughts

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collect one's thoughts

  1. (idiomatic) To become mentally composed, especially after being distressed, surprised, or disoriented; to become calm or organized in one's emotional state or thinking, as in preparation for a conversation, speech, decision, etc.
    • 1820, Washington Irving, "The Early Experiences of Ralph Ringwood," in The Crayon Papers:
      I got up feverish and nervous. I walked out before breakfast, striving to collect my thoughts and tranquilize my feelings.
    • 1857, Charlotte Brontë, chapter 7, in The Professor:
      I took a moment to collect my thoughts, and likewise to frame in French the sentence by which I proposed to open business.
    • 1917, L. Frank Baum, chapter 7, in The Lost Princess of Oz:
      She fell sprawling upon a green meadow and was so dazed and bewildered by her bumpy journey across the Merry-Go-Round Mountains that she lay quite still for a time to collect her thoughts.
    • 2001, Dean E. Murphy, "Political Memo; Being Mike Bloomberg, Without a Script or a Doubt," New York Times, 30 Jul. (retrieved 11 Oct. 2008):
      "I'm a believer, umm," Mr. Bloomberg said before standing silently at the lectern for seven seconds as he collected his thoughts.