pregnant pause

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Senior Member
This is a conversation from Wedding Season by Katie Fforde. Lily is pregnant. She is going to hold the wedding soon. Sarah, her sister, is bringing her some wedding dress for her to try.

‘Oh!' Lily squeaked. 'That's too tight.’

No one spoke for a few seconds. 'I think that could be described as a pregnant pause,' said Sarah.

Would you like to explain the meaning of "pregnant pause" to me? Thanks.
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Well, you could use the dictionary here

    Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
    • 1 (of a woman or female animal) having a child or young developing in the uterus.
    • 2 full of meaning or significance.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Figuratively, a "pregnant pause" is a pause in a conversation when one party suddenly realises what they have said could be taken as a severe criticism, rude or insensitive to the person to whom they are speaking, although they did not mean it in that way, or they did not know something.

    A: "Can you tell me how to get to the hospital."
    B: "Yes. See those crossroads?"
    A: "No. No I can't see them."
    B: "Well you should be able to! There's a big sign there saying "Crossroads". Are you blind?"
    A: "Yes, I am..."
    [pregnant pause]
    B: Oh... very sorry... I thought... I do apologise..."

    In the story, I suspect Lily is pregnant...
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