With Bated Breath Origin: A Comprehensive Guide

With Bated Breath O que quer dizer esta expressão? Mairo Vergara


Have you ever heard the phrase “with bated breath” and wondered what it means? This expression has been used for centuries, and its origin is fascinating. In this article, we will explore the meaning and history of the phrase “with bated breath.”

What Does “With Bated Breath” Mean?

The phrase “with bated breath” means to wait anxiously or with great anticipation. When someone is waiting with bated breath, they are holding their breath and waiting eagerly for something to happen.

The Origin of “With Bated Breath”

The phrase “with bated breath” was first used by William Shakespeare in “The Merchant of Venice.” In Act I, Scene III, Shylock says, “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”

The Meaning of “Bated”

The word “bated” is a shortened form of the word “abated,” which means to reduce or lessen. In the context of “with bated breath,” the word “bated” means to hold one’s breath in anticipation or anxiety, causing one’s breathing to become shallow and restrained.

How to Use “With Bated Breath”

The phrase “with bated breath” is used to describe a state of anticipation or anxiety. It is often used to describe someone waiting for news, a decision, or an event. For example, “I am waiting with bated breath to hear back about my job interview.”

Other Expressions with Similar Meaning

There are several other expressions that have a similar meaning to “with bated breath.” Some examples include:

  • On tenterhooks
  • With baited breath
  • With breathless anticipation
  • On pins and needles


The phrase “with bated breath” has been used for centuries and has an interesting origin. It is a powerful way to describe a state of anticipation or anxiety. Now that you know the meaning and history of this phrase, you can use it with confidence in your writing and conversations.