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  • The phrase is from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, 1596:

    "With bated breath, and whispring humblenesse."

    It's a contraction of "abated breath," or "stopped breath." Imagine the gap in breathing that occurs right after a gasp or the cessation of breath that happens when you see something astonishing. It's very often misspelled "baited breath."

    July 18, 2009

  • You must see baited breath. It's reely funny!

    July 3, 2009

  • crypto, if you had clicked on the link, you would see that noone is suggesting baited breath is correct.

    July 3, 2009

  • No, do not see "baited" breath. One does not bait one's breath, though I suppose there are those whose breath suggests they have. One "bates" one's breath, as in "abate", or stay, or suspend.

    July 3, 2009

  • See baited breath.

    September 15, 2007