with bated breath

with bated breath

Cliché while holding one's breath. We stood there with bated breath while the man hung on the side of the bridge. They listened with bated breath for the announcement about the winner.
See also: breath

with bated breath

while nervously waiting We watched with bated breath to see if the mother bear would bring her baby back to safety.
See also: breath

with bated breath

if you wait for something with bated breath, you feel very excited or anxious while you are waiting 'His name wasn't by any chance, Max Peters?' Helena asked with bated breath. We were waiting with baited breath for the prizes to be announced.
See also: breath

with bated breath

Eagerly or anxiously, as in We waited for the announcement of the winner with bated breath. This expression literally means "holding one's breath" ( bate means "restrain"). Today it is also used somewhat ironically, indicating one is not all that eager or anxious. [Late 1500s] Also see hold one's breath, def. 2.
See also: breath
References in classic literature ?
and he stopped to listen with bated breath to the wind rustling in the elm-trees, fancying he could bear that same passionate cry ringing still in his ears - the cry of an old man parted from his kin and waiting for death in a lonely land.
They look upon us as amateurs and speak of Scotland Yard with bated breath.
Yes, a dangerous matter -- so dangerous that even the most saintly dared only whisper their religious opinions with bated breath, lest something which fell from their lips might be misconstrued, and bring down a swift retribution upon them.
At this all stopped and listened with bated breath, albeit for a time they could hear nothing, their ears being duller than Stutely's.
She took it, however, with bated breath, swinging from her strong little arms, and landing on all fours in the soft grass.
The men, listening with bated breath, now turned their curious eyes upon the colonel.
With bated breath and beating heart he moved toward the Rhetor (by which name the brother who prepared a seeker for entrance into the Brotherhood was known).
Yet he had picked up gossip enough to have it occur to him that the loud-voiced man upon the bench might be the notorious Justice Callahan, about whom the people of Packingtown spoke with bated breath.
It is even true," said the wheelwright, with bated breath.
One afternoon he went out with Arthur to the University of California, and, with bated breath and a feeling of religious awe, went through the laboratories, saw demonstrations, and listened to a physics professor lecturing to his classes.
asked Alleyne, with bated breath, as he stared awe-struck at his precious relics.
It is spoken of in the village to this day with bated breath and awful joy.
Poole disinterred the axe from under a stack of packing straw; the candle was set upon the nearest table to light them to the attack; and they drew near with bated breath to where that patient foot was still going up and down, up and down, in the quiet of the night.
They stand entranced before it with bated breath and parted lips, and when they speak, it is only in the catchy ejaculations of rapture:
His lieutenants had worked so hard from five o'clock until eleven, that they actually had collected a hundred thousand roubles for him, but at such terrific expense, that the rate of interest was only mentioned among them in whispers and with bated breath.