Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Randomness: Bated Breath

I was talking with a friend today about the phrase "bated breath" (often spelled "baited breath") and looked up the etymology at...


...and for those too lazy to click thru, here is the short version: Bated here is a contraction of abated through loss of the unstressed first vowel (a process called aphesis); it means ?reduced, lessened, lowered in force?. So bated breath refers to a state in which you almost stop breathing as a result of some strong emotion, such as terror or awe.

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