To be perfect would be interesting; to confess perfection would be really lame. – Grammar Groupie
I sure hope not.
Unless creepy crawlies are a regular part of your respiratory system, you shouldn’t ever have baited breath. The correct spelling of the phrase is bated breath. But don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made this mistake. It’s becoming more and more acceptable to see baited breath in formal writing. But that doesn’t mean it’s correct.
The problems are twofold:
One, bated is a homophone of baited and homophones are notorious for the confusion they create.
Two, bated breath is an idiom and the only common phrase in which we use the word bated.
Bated is a contraction of abated, which means to reduce in degree or intensity, according to our friends at Merriam-Webster. So, abated breath, or bated breath, refers to a state in which one’s breathing is lessened due to strong emotion, such as expectation or fright.
Thanks to Kaitlin, for making me fish around for the proper usage.