It's "waiting with BATED breath". To bate is to reduce, lessen or diminish. Waiting with bated breath implies waiting with such suspense that one is hardly breathing.
I stood with bated breath as she moved closer to me. With their now much bated paychecks, it was no wonder the employees began to rob the company blind.
The first public use of it, according to the Oxford Dictionary, was in 1596, in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice: "i. iii. 125 'With bated breath, and whispring humblenesse.'"
Starlight Theatre - 1950 With Bated Breath 2-20 was released on: USA: 9 August 1951
I await with bated breath the movies' sequel.
I await your correspondence with bated breath. I am anxious to review today's correspondence.
Spänning. Sounds exactly like the English 'spanning'.
We awaited with bated breath to see just what would ensue.
First, note that it is "bated" breath. Though the form "baited" is often used, it is still considered to be a misspelling. ["Baited" has a different sense, too.] "Bated" is a clipped form [technically, an aphetic] of "abated," just as squireis a clipped form of esquire. Abated means "lessened," "weakened," or "diminished": the word stresses the idea of progressive diminishing, as in the storm abated. The expression "bated breath" appears in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, but the origin of the idiom "waiting with bated breath" is lost in the dark past of our language.
Act 1, Scene III Shylock . . .
The phrase "bated breath" meaning holding or restricting one's breath, was used in Shakespeare, in the Merchant of Venice, in 1596, but was also used in other ways at that time. The word bate meaning to reduce or lessen is now archaic and its use is now only in this phrase and in its derivative form "to abate" meaning to reduce or lessen.
Unfortunately, there is no movie yet for this book. Though, I am waiting with bated breath for someone to make it a movie.