Make Your Editor Cry: Baited breath vs. Bated breath

Make Your Editor Cry:  Baited breath vs. Bated breath

When you think about bait, things like hooks, worms, and lures should come to mind. So, if you’re trying to say that someone is holding his breath, you probably don’t want to make it anything about bait.

The first word in this phrase should actually be bated which stems from the verb “abate,” meaning to stop or lessen.

The correct expression is “bated breath.”

Examples:

Incorrect:

Natasha waited for a fish to bite with baited breath.

Correct:

Natasha waited to unwrap her birthday presents with bated breath.

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