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bate1

[beyt] /beɪt/
verb (used with object), bated, bating.
1.
to moderate or restrain:
unable to bate our enthusiasm.
2.
to lessen or diminish; abate:
setbacks that bated his hopes.
verb (used without object), bated, bating.
3.
to diminish or subside; abate.
Idioms
4.
with bated breath, with breath drawn in or held because of anticipation or suspense:
We watched with bated breath as the runners approached the finish line.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English, aphetic variant of abate
Can be confused
baited, bated.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for with bated breath

bate1

/beɪt/
verb
1.
another word for abate
2.
with bated breath, holding one's breath in suspense or fear

bate2

/beɪt/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of hawks) to jump violently from a perch or the falconer's fist, often hanging from the leash while struggling to escape
Word Origin
C13: from Old French batre to beat, from Latin battuere; related to bat1

bate3

/beɪt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to soak (skin or hides) in a special solution to soften them and remove chemicals used in previous treatments
noun
2.
the solution used
Word Origin
Old English bǣtan to bait1

bate4

/beɪt/
noun
1.
(Brit, slang) a bad temper or rage
Word Origin
C19: from bait1, alluding to the mood of a person who is being baited
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for with bated breath
bate
"to reduce, to lessen in intensity," c.1300, aphetic of abate (q.v.). Now only in phrase bated breath, which was used by Shakespeare in "The Merchant of Venice" (1596).
bate
c.1300, "to contend with blows or arguments," from O.Fr. batre "to hit, beat, strike," from L.L. battere, from L. batuere "to beat, knock" (see batter (v.)). In falconry, "to beat the wings impatiently and flutter away from the perch." Figurative sense of "to flutter downward" attested from 1580s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with with bated breath
Eagerly or anxiously, as in We waited for the announcement of the winner with bated breath. This expression literally means “holding one's breath” (bate means “restrain”). Today it is also used somewhat ironically, indicating one is not all that eager or anxious. [ Late 1500s ]
Also see: hold one's breath, def. 2.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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