with bated breath

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don't hold your breath

Don't expect something to happen. (The idea being that one couldn't hold one's breath long enough for the unlikely thing to happen.) If know you hope Monica comes to the meeting, but don't hold your breath—she hasn't been to one all year.
See also: breath, hold

with bated breath

Eagerly. The phrase suggests that one is breathing shallowly in anticipation of something. I've been waiting with bated breath to hear back from my first-choice school.
See also: breath
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

Don't hold your breath.

Fig. Do not stop breathing waiting for something to happen that won't happen. (Meaning that it will take longer for it to happen than you can possibly hold your breath.) Tom: The front yard is such a mess. Bob: Bill's supposed to rake the leaves. Tom: Don't hold your breath. He never does his share of the work. Sally: Someone said that gasoline prices would go down. Bob: Oh, yeah? Don't hold your breath.
See also: breath, hold

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

with bated breath

COMMON If you wait for something with bated breath, you wait in an anxious or excited way to see what happens next. Flora and I waited with bated breath to hear what Evelyn considered sensible. They got the people in the villages interested in what was going to happen, so they were then watching with bated breath as the experiment began. Note: `Bate' is an old form of `abate', which in this context means `control' or `hold back'.
See also: breath
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

don't hold your breath

used to indicate that something is very unlikely to happen.
See also: breath, hold

with bated breath

in great suspense; very anxiously or excitedly.
Baited , which is sometimes seen, is a misspelling, since bated in this sense is a shortened form of abated , the idea being that your breathing is lessened under the influence of extreme suspense.
See also: breath
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

with ˌbated ˈbreath

hardly able to breathe because you are very anxious about something: We watched with bated breath as the lion moved slowly towards him.
See also: breath
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

with bated breath

Holding one’s breath back in expectation. To bate meant to restrain, but this verb is scarcely heard today except in this cliché, which itself has an archaic sound and often is used ironically. Shakespeare used it in The Merchant of Venice (1.3): “Shall I bend low, and in a bondsman’s key, With bated breath, and whispering humbleness.” A more recent colloquial locution is don’t hold your breath, meaning “don’t wait in vain.”
See also: breath
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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