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verb (used with object), bat·ed, bat·ing.
  1. to moderate or restrain: unable to bate our enthusiasm.
  2. to lessen or diminish; abate: setbacks that bated his hopes.
verb (used without object), bat·ed, bat·ing.
  1. to diminish or subside; abate.
  1. with bated breath, with breath drawn in or held because of anticipation or suspense: We watched with bated breath as the runners approached the finish line.

Origin of bate1

1250–1300; Middle English, aphetic variant of abate
Can be confusedbaited bated


verb (used without object), bat·ed, bat·ing.
  1. (of a hawk) to flutter its wings and attempt to escape in a fit of anger or fear.
  1. a state of violent anger or fear.

Origin of bate2

1250–1300; Middle English baten to beat, flap (wings, etc.) < Middle French (se) batreLatin battuere to beat; cf. abate


verb (used with or without object), bat·ed, bat·ing.
  1. Tanning. to soak (leather) after liming in an alkaline solution to soften it and remove the lime.
  1. the solution used.

Origin of bate3

1870–75; variant of beat to pare off turf, Old English bǣtan to bait; cognate with Swedish beta to tan, German beissen to macerate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bated

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The first words which he said were spoken sacredly, with bated breath.

    Murder Point</p>

    Coningsby Dawson

  • Dorothy listened with bated breath, then turned quickly to Katy.

    Pretty Madcap Dorothy

    Laura Jean Libbey

  • In the political clubs, his passing was discussed with bated breath.

    The Crevice</p>

    William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander

  • Serina listened with bated breath as Horace read the confirmation.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • To flee was impossible, so with bated breath he stood his ground.

    The Boy Land Boomer

    Ralph Bonehill

British Dictionary definitions for bated


  1. another word for abate
  2. with bated breath holding one's breath in suspense or fear


  1. (intr) (of hawks) to jump violently from a perch or the falconer's fist, often hanging from the leash while struggling to escape

Word Origin

C13: from Old French batre to beat, from Latin battuere; related to bat 1


verb (tr)
  1. to soak (skin or hides) in a special solution to soften them and remove chemicals used in previous treatments
  1. the solution used

Word Origin

Old English bǣtan to bait 1


  1. British slang a bad temper or rage

Word Origin

C19: from bait 1, alluding to the mood of a person who is being baited
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bated



"to reduce, to lessen in intensity," c.1300, shortening of abate (q.v.). Now only in phrase bated breath, which was used by Shakespeare in "The Merchant of Venice" (1596).



c.1300, "to contend with blows or arguments," from Old French batre "to hit, beat, strike," from Late Latin battere, from Latin batuere "to beat, knock" (see batter (v.)). In falconry, "to beat the wings impatiently and flutter away from the perch." Figurative sense of "to flutter downward" attested from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper