I. adjective — (in phrase with bated breath) 1. in great suspense; very anxiously or excitedly • he waited for a reply to his offer with bated breath.
– origin late 16th cent.: from the past participle of obsolete bate ‘restrain’, from abate. / usage: The spelling baited breath instead of bated breath is a common mistake. Almost a third of citations for this idiom in the Oxford English Corpus are for the incorrect spelling.