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bate1

[beyt] /beɪt/
verb (used with object), bated, bating.
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), bated, bating.
3.
to diminish or subside; abate.
Idioms
4.
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
1250-1300; Middle English, aphetic variant of abate
Can be confused
baited, bated.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bated breath
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With bated breath and throbbing heart I watched his slow progress across the open country.

    Cruisings in the Cascades George O. Shields
  • The knot of spectators around the table watched with bated breath.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • The very postman and tradesmen only approach it with bated breath.

  • In silence they waited with bated breath while the awful moments passed.

  • And with bated breath they let the dead cart rumble by with its ghastly burden.

    Faithful Margaret Annie Ashmore
  • All admitted that they did hear some sort of a sound and sat with bated breath.

    Blue Bonnet in Boston Caroline E. Jacobs
  • I was kneeling by Jack, and was not intended to hear what all were too hot and excited to guard by bated breath.

    Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker S. Weir Mitchell
British Dictionary definitions for bated breath

bate1

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

bate2

/beɪt/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (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 bat1

bate3

/beɪt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to soak (skin or hides) in a special solution to soften them and remove chemicals used in previous treatments
noun
2.
the solution used
Word Origin
Old English bǣtan to bait1

bate4

/beɪt/
noun
1.
(Brit, slang) a bad temper or rage
Word Origin
C19: from bait1, 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
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Contemporary definitions for bated breath
noun

the condition of waiting for something to happen; subdued breathing due to high emotions

Examples

With bated breath, they went to the mailbox every day.

Word Origin

1933; based on bate meaning 'to moderate, restrain'

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
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Word Origin and History for bated breath
n.

see bate (v.1).

bate

v.

"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.

bate

v.2

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
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