Jenny from Portland, Oregon, is fascinated by the language of falconers. In falconry, the word bate means “to flap the wings impatiently.” A similarly spelled verb, which has nothing to do with falconry, figures in the expression to wait with bated breath, meaning “to hold one’s breath in watchful anticipation.” This bate is a shortened form of the verb abate, meaning “to put an end to.” Both the bate from falconry and the bate in bated breath share a common ancestor in the Latin word battuere, which means “to beat” or “to knock.” Another word that does come from falconry is the verb to bat as in to bat one’s eyes. It’s formed from the bate that refers to flapping.

This is part of a complete episode.

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