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".