Do you ever wonder how you survived without Google? I do, daily. A couple of days ago as I wrote my thoughts on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I included the phrase “with baited breath.”
I looked at the phrase more than once, squinting my eyes to discern if that, indeed, was the proper way to say someone was waiting in great suspense for something to happen. On one hand, it seemed right. Bait, meaning something that entices, could perhaps suit my purposes, but it seemed like an ill-fitting puzzle piece when I examined it with eyes wide open.
This appeared to be a job for Google.
I typed in, “Is it bated or baited breath?”
Then I waited (with either bated or baited breath) for fewer than two seconds:
Bated breath vs baited breath. Bated breath is a phrase that means to hold one’s breath due to suspense, trepidation or fear. Bated breath is a phrase first mentioned in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The word bated is an abbreviation of the word abated, meaning to lessen in severity or amount.
Who knew that bated was short for abated? Maybe everyone but me. Shouldn’t it be shown with an apostrophe—‘bated, to indicate it’s been abbreviated?
At any rate, I changed my text to show that Quentin Tarantino was most likely waiting with bated breath for my approval. Now I just need to find a way to use baited breath. How about, “Simon was the consummate fisherman. He always had the best results after eating worms for breakfast. It seems the bass were fond of his baited breath.”
But Pinterest had a better one.
Technology is good.