Taking the bait

What do you use to bait your breath and what do you expect to lure in?

baited breath shine

If you know the meaning of bated (and who among us does?), then you won’t make the same mistake as the Yahoo! Shine writer. The word bate is related to abate (its first letter got dropped a long time ago to produce bate). Both words mean “to reduce in amount, degree, or intensity; lessen.”

Geoffrey Taylor’s poem Cruel Clever Cat manages to make sense of “baited breath”:

Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

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2 Responses to “Taking the bait”

  1. lectorconstans Says:

    Two points for getting “planchette” right. Meanwhile, I sit in wrapped attention, waiting for the details.


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