with bated breath

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Alternative forms[edit]


From the verb bate, alteration by aphesis of the verb abate (to reduce; lessen).


Prepositional phrase[edit]

with bated breath

  1. with reduced breath
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act I Scene 3 [1]
      Or | Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key, | With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this;
    • 1878, Edward Hayes Plumptre (transl.), Philoctetes, lines 845-846.
      Speak gently, Ο my son, speak gently now
      With 'bated breath, speak low.
  2. (idiomatic) Eagerly; with great anticipation.
    We are waiting with bated breath for the release of the new version.