with bated breath

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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

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

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

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

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