To bate means to hold back or restrain, and you may see it in language that’s either old or meant to sound old. A relative of bate appears in the phrase “with bated breath,” which describes what you do when you anxiously wait.

If you’re awaiting the results of your hot-dog eating contest “with bated breath,” you’re so anxious and excited that you’re holding your breath (and maybe you had too many hot dogs). Bate also turns up in the obscure vocabulary of falconry, a sport that involves training birds of prey to hunt. When a falcon is sitting on its perch and excitedly beats its wings as if to fly away, the bird is said to bate.

Definitions of bate
  1. verb

    moderate or restrain; lessen the force of

    bated his breath when talking about this affair”
    “capable of
    bating his enthusiasm”
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    type of:

    check, contain, control, curb, hold, hold in, moderate

    lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits

  2. verb

    flap the wings wildly or frantically; used of falcons

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    type of:

    beat, flap

    move with a thrashing motion

  3. verb

    soak in a special solution to soften and remove chemicals used in previous treatments

    bate hides and skins”
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    type of:

    douse, dowse, drench, soak, sop, souse

    cover with liquid; pour liquid onto

Word Family