with bated breath
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- With reduced breath.
- c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iii], page 166, column 2:
- Shall I bend low, and in a bond-mans key / With bated breath, and whiſpring humbleneſſe, / Say this:
- 1876, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Hartford, Conn.: The American Publishing Company, OCLC 1000326417, page 187:
- […] with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale.
- 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “In which Challenger Meets a Strange Colleague”, in The Land of Mist (eBook no. 0601351h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, published April 2019:
- The Professor, the master, the supreme chief, he who had to be addressed with bated breath sat with half-opened mouth and staring eyes, leaning forward in his chair, while in front of him the slight young woman shaking her mop of brown hair and wagging an admonitory forefinger, spoke to him as a father speaks to a refractory child.
- (idiomatic) Eagerly; with great anticipation.
- We are waiting with bated breath for the release of the new version.
holding one's breath