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Bated breath

Posted by ESC on June 08, 2000

In Reply to: What does this mean? posted by Vanessa Wilkinson on June 08, 2000

: With Bated Breath?

Page on down for a 5/23/00 discussion of this phrase (sometimes spelled incorrectly as "baited breath). It says in part:

If someone has bated breath they are holding their breath with suspense or fear. This use of bated is about the only example left in the English language; abate is much more common. Both words come from the Old French "abatre", to "beat down" or "fell".