What does the idiomatic expression “Bated Breath” mean? An idiom that is used widely today is “bated breath.” Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and the story behind its origin. You will also find examples of how it is properly used in everyday conversations/statements and other ways to state the same means using literal expressions.
Bated Breath Meaning
The phrase “bated breath” means the act of holding one’s breath in response to a suspenseful or fearful situation. Bated was written as an abbreviated form of the word abated, which means to reduce the overall amount or the severity of a situation.
Origin of this idiom
The phrase “bated breath” originally appeared in 1596 in a play titled The Merchant of Venice written by Shakespeare. The phrase grew in popularity and remains widely used today.
“Bated Breath” Examples
Examples in Statements
A statement in the local paper.
- “The crowd stood outside the courthouse waiting with bated breath for the verdict that the judge was about to deliver just inside the doors.”
A statement made describing the new ride at the town fair.
- “We all waited with bated breath as the ride began to lurch forward and then suddenly launched us way into the air.”
Examples in Conversations
A conversation between two friends the day after Halloween.
- Friend 1: So, what did you do last night for Halloween Helen?
- Friend 2: Oh, my dad and I went to a haunted house.
- Friend 1: That sounds like fun! Was it a good one?
- Friend 2: It was awesome! I was waiting in line with bated breath before we even entered because they were chasing people outside.
A conversation between a mother and daughter.
- Mom: Are you ready for the prom tonight?
- Daughter: I am a bit nervous, but I know it will be a blast.
- Mom: It is sure to be a very special night!
- Daughter: I hope so. I have been waiting with bated breath for it all week.
- He waited for a reply to his offer with bated breath.
- We waited with bated breath for the winner to be announced.
- His speech was so astounding that the audience listened to him with bated breath.
- Every Monday, the whole office used to wait with bated breath for his report.
- The soldiers’ families waited with bated breath for news.
Other Was to Say “Bated Breath”
Like most idioms, there are literal ways to convey the same meaning of the phrase “bated breath.” For instance, you could say: I have been holding my breath in anticipation, I am excited or I have been greatly anticipating this moment.
List of “Bated Breath” synonyms:
- Holding our breath
- Great anticipation