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Re: The Plan for Now

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Herb Sevush
Re: The Plan for Now
on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:10:27 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "Also, I think the word "bated" comes to us from falconry …"

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-bai1.htm

World Wide Words
Michael Quinion

"The correct spelling is actually bated breath but it’s so common these days to see it written as baited breath that there’s every chance that it will soon become the usual form, to the disgust of conservative speakers and the confusion of dictionary writers... Bated here is a contraction of abated through loss of the unstressed first vowel (a process called aphesis); it means “reduced, lessened, lowered in force”. So bated breath refers to a state in which you almost stop breathing as a result of some strong emotion, such as terror or awe...Bated and baited sound the same and we no longer use bated (let alone the verb to bate), outside this one set phrase, which has become an idiom. Confusion is almost inevitable."

I stand corrected, for now, on bated, although I didn't see any connection to falconry -- but that's a lovely word and makes me think of one of the great poems of the late great 20th century --

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. ...

The Second Coming
WB Yeats

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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