1 of 2

verb (1)

bated; bating

transitive verb

: to reduce the force or intensity of : restrain
waited with bated breath
: to take away : deduct
That grave and orderly senior was not going to bate a jot of his dignity …George Eliot
archaic : to lower especially in amount or estimation
And I shall have to bate my price …A. E. Housman
archaic : blunt
And now I have bated your curiosity …J. F. Cooper

intransitive verb

obsolete : diminish, decrease
The wind is bating.


2 of 2

verb (2)

bated; bating

intransitive verb

of a falcon or hawk
: to attempt to fly off something (such as a gauntlet) in fear

Examples of bate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
These are the last big nominations actors can score prior to the Big O, so breath is bated and agents are standing by to comfort. Vulture, 10 Jan. 2024 Others will have a day off work and maybe do something meaningful to honor Black people—but our breath is not bated. Time, 19 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb (1)

Middle English, short for abaten to abate

Verb (2)

Middle English, from Middle French batre to beat, from Latin battuere

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bate was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near bate

Cite this Entry

“Bate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


bated; bating
: to reduce the force or intensity of : restrain
listen with bated breath

More from Merriam-Webster on bate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!