#WhyWriteWrong – Baited vs Bated

The Write Stuff

Twice lately, I have been pulled right out of a story I was reading by the phrase “baited breath,” and I realized this is a mistake far too many people are making. One does not have “baited breath” unless one has been eating worms or shiners. Honest.

The correct word in this case is “bated,” as in “abated” meaning something that has ceased happening. Like breathing. In other words, the phrase “bated breath” means someone is holding his breath, whereas to say “baited breath” implies someone has very odd dining habits.

The Serious Example:

The accused murderer awaited the jury’s verdict with bated breath. (He was holding his breath).

The Silly example:

The cat ate every shiner in the pail, ending up with baited breath.  (The cat now smells fishy.)

Hope this helps sort out the difference between bated and baited. (But I’m not holding my breath here. 😀 )

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Author: Rae Longest

This year, I will have been a member of AAUW (American Association of University Women) for fifty years, a life time member (which means my fellow AAUW members will begin to pay my annual dues. (ha ha) In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015 and went on from there (See "Introduction",first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 27th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

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