bate

1
[ beyt ]
/ beɪt /

verb (used with object), bat·ed, bat·ing.

to moderate or restrain: unable to bate our enthusiasm.
to lessen or diminish; abate: setbacks that bated his hopes.

verb (used without object), bat·ed, bat·ing.

to diminish or subside; abate.

Idioms

    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 bate

1
1250–1300; Middle English, aphetic variant of abate
Can be confusedbaited bated
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for with bated breath (1 of 4)

bate

1
/ (beɪt) /

verb

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

British Dictionary definitions for with bated breath (2 of 4)

bate

2
/ (beɪt) /

verb

(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 for bate

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

British Dictionary definitions for with bated breath (3 of 4)

bate

3
/ (beɪt) /

verb (tr)

to soak (skin or hides) in a special solution to soften them and remove chemicals used in previous treatments

noun

the solution used

Word Origin for bate

Old English bǣtan to bait 1

British Dictionary definitions for with bated breath (4 of 4)

bate

4
/ (beɪt) /

noun

British slang a bad temper or rage

Word Origin for bate

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

Idioms and Phrases with with bated 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.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.