Definition of bated in English:



in phrase with bated breath
  • In great suspense; very anxiously or excitedly.

    ‘he waited for a reply to his offer with bated breath’
    • ‘With millions of Indians waiting with bated breath over the decision of the men in blue for the mini World Cup, cricket fever has only just begun.’
    • ‘I wait with bated breath to hear the outcome of this meeting.’
    • ‘He added: ‘We are all waiting with bated breath to hear what is in store.’’
    • ‘Montreal waits with bated breath until it is announced that the city's official bird is the… American Golden Finch!’
    • ‘As the 1000-odd crowd assembled at the spot watched with bated breath, the personnel started pulling the rope up with utmost care.’
    • ‘If you have been waiting with bated breath to read it, email me.’
    • ‘While the rest of the world waited with bated breath to see if they could simply complete the facilities in time, the Athenians were always confident they could deliver.’
    • ‘The winners will be announced with bated breath on June 24.’
    • ‘Then we waited with bated breath for the response.’
    • ‘The young ones were waiting with bated breath to have a rendezvous with Kalam, for wherever he tours, a session with kids is very much part of his itinerary.’
    • ‘Football fans are looking forward with bated breath to the clash of Kerry and near neighbours Limerick in the national league semi final later in the month of April.’
    • ‘While this haggling for coveted posts and berths is going on in political circles, the common people are watching the developments with bated breath.’
    • ‘Dolly and Graham and I watched with bated breath.’
    • ‘Well, the American people don't sit around the table waiting with bated breath for the president to speak.’
    • ‘We await disclosure of the price with bated breath.’
    • ‘I wait with bated breath to see what it will be like.’
    • ‘Now, we await the minister's threatened exposé with bated breath.’
    • ‘Excited denizens have waited with bated breath as the clock ticked by - months, days, hours and finally the big moment itself.’
    • ‘For the next four days, the nation and the world watched with bated breath to see whether a full-scale core meltdown would follow.’
    • ‘We await this demanded intervention with bated breath.’
    eagerly, agog, all agog, with bated breath, on tenterhooks, avid, excited, on edge, open-mouthed, anxious, edgy, jittery, jumpy, keyed up, overwrought, uneasy, worried
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The spelling baited breath instead of bated breath is a common mistake. Almost a third of citations for this idiom in the Oxford English Corpus are for the incorrect spelling


Late 16th century: from the past participle of obsolete bate ‘restrain’, from abate.