by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Copy Editor Who Can’t Resist…
It’s a common mistake: writing “baited breath” instead of “bated breath.”
I just didn’t expect it in the official publication of the American Marketing Association (October 2016 issue). But there it glared at me from an article about another mistake, Apple’s born-to-be-lost cordless AirPods.
Of course, we all know that “bated” means anxious or excited, while “baited” refers to a loaded trap. Whenever I see “baited breath,” I visualize someone with a worm on a hook dangling in their mouth — or a predatory male who thinks sucking on Tic Tacs will seduce his prey.
Now with that gruesome visual in mind (and I’m not talking about the worm), I’ll be sure to never make that mistake.