Baited [sic] breath

I’m always annoyed by references to “baited breath” (*), so when I that saw Michael Quinion wrote about it, I took a look. He quotes this amusing and intentional use of “baited breath” by Geoffrey Taylor:

Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

Cruel Clever Cat

(*) Do you think it’s wrong for me to be annoyed?

11/29/07 update: I just found out that the term eggcorn has been used to describe substitutions like “baited breath” since 2003. The term was “coined” (in quotes because “eggcorn” is actually an example of the phenomenon) by one of the guys at Language Log, a blog which I recently added to my list of Language/words sites on my sidebar.  Here’s The Eggcorn Database!


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