#WhyWriteWrong – Baited vs Bated

A major pet peeve for me as a reader, are words that sound the same, but have different meanings, being wrongly used.
Site / sight, there / they’re/ their, etc.
Thank you Marcia for raising this subject 👍😃

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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4 thoughts on “#WhyWriteWrong – Baited vs Bated

  1. I’m with you on wrong use of homonyms. I can’t stand them, and it usually makes me dock a star rating from my reviews! Reign and rein seems to be something that especially US youngsters don’t understand. Reigning in ones feelings seems to be commonplace. Of course, since they don’t have a queen that reigns and have probably never had to control a horse using the reins, I suppose it’s understandable.
    But bated breath? Blush. I never realised….. And I checked the dictionary just to make sure. You are quite correct, of course. I’m obviously not as educated as I thought 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for sharing, Chris. I’ve been trying to make Friday a good day for my #WhyWriteWrong feature, though I confess to having missed a few. Glad you liked this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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