Meaning 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’
    • ‘Excited denizens have waited with bated breath as the clock ticked by - months, days, hours and finally the big moment itself.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the 1000-odd crowd assembled at the spot watched with bated breath, the personnel started pulling the rope up with utmost care.’
    • ‘Then we waited with bated breath for the response.’
    • ‘While this haggling for coveted posts and berths is going on in political circles, the common people are watching the developments with bated breath.’
    • ‘The winners will be announced with bated breath on June 24.’
    • ‘We await disclosure of the price with bated breath.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I wait with bated breath to see what it will be like.’
    • ‘Montreal waits with bated breath until it is announced that the city's official bird is the… American Golden Finch!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He added: ‘We are all waiting with bated breath to hear what is in store.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dolly and Graham and I watched with bated breath.’
    • ‘If you have been waiting with bated breath to read it, email me.’
    • ‘Now, we await the minister's threatened exposé 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.’
    • ‘Well, the American people don't sit around the table waiting with bated breath for the president to speak.’
    eagerly, agog, all agog, with bated breath, on tenterhooks, avid, excited, on edge, open-mouthed, anxious, edgy, jittery, jumpy, keyed up, overwrought, uneasy, worried


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.