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bate (verb) Lessen or suspend (usually breath, speech, etc.) in fear or excitement.
When you stop breathing for a while in fear or in excitement, you bate your breath, that is, you suspend your breath. When you expect something terrible is just about to happen, you bate your speech. That is, you become speechless, and wait tensely for a few moments during which you expect it to happen. A candidate bates his breath as the election results are about to be announced. When a lottery is being drawn, the participants bate their breath, that is, they suspend their breath in a state of excitement.
- The players of the team bated their breath when it was about to be announced who, among them, had been selected as the captain of the team.
- Kenny bated his speech in curiosity, as he looked up the list of prize winners, because he had been expecting to win one of the prizes awarded to students of exceptional merit.