With Bated Breath

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With Bated Breath : Phrases


Anxiously, with great anticipation.


The trial decision was awaited with bated breath.


Bated is a shortened version of abated which means to slow down. In the case of bated breath this would mean to slow down your breathing or hold your breath.

Curiously, people hold their breath when in anticipation. Perhaps so as not to be distracted by breathing.

Bated is no longer commonly used, causing people to believe the expression to be with baited breath. This common misspelling leads to confusion and strange imagery.

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