It's BATED breath!

I don't know if it's coincidence, or if this phrase has been used in some popular media recently, but I've seen several people use the phrase "waiting with bated breath," except they spell it "baited," which doesn't make any sense. The phrase is "bated breath", as in "held breath." Look it up here. More examples: I'm holding my breath in anticipation; don't hold your breath waiting. It actually means something, when spelled correctly. What would "baited breath" mean? You're putting bait in your mouth and blowing? Merriam-Websters is your friend.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how old this entry is, or even exactly how I came across this page.

Anyways, I believe the "waited with baited breath" may be in reference to Warcraft III.

There's a race of aquatic snakes, and one of their sayings when commanded is "I await with baited breath". It's a pun (albeit a bad one, but aren't all puns? (: ). They have a plethora of nautical jokes, most of which being a play on words.

Shawn said...

That is interesting. I wonder if it's a case where a pun or otherwise intentional alteration of the actual phrase becomes subsequently mistaken for the actual thing. Similarly, I've noticed many people misspelling the word "happiness" ever since the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" came out with that spelling, which I understand is spelled that way due to a child's mistake in the movie.