bait

verb
\ˈbāt \
baited; baiting; baits

Definition of bait 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to persecute or exasperate with unjust, malicious, or persistent attacks bait minority groups : to try to make angry with criticism or insults baiting a politician during a debate

b : tease

2a : to harass (a chained animal, such as a bear) with dogs usually for sport

b : to attack by biting and tearing dogs baiting a fox

3a : to furnish with bait (see bait entry 2) bait a fishing line bait a trap

b : entice, lure baiting prospective buyers

4 : to give food and drink to (an animal) especially on the road

intransitive verb

archaic : to stop for food and rest when traveling

bait

noun

Definition of bait (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : something (such as food) used in luring especially to a hook or trap using worms for bait

b : a poisonous material placed where it will be eaten by harmful or objectionable animals

2 : lure, temptation using bargains as bait for shoppers

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Other Words from bait

Verb

baiter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bait

Verb

bait, badger, heckle, hector, chivy, hound mean to harass by efforts to break down. bait implies wanton cruelty or delight in persecuting a helpless victim. baited the chained dog badger implies pestering so as to drive a person to confusion or frenzy. badgered her father for a car heckle implies persistent annoying or belligerent interruptions of a speaker. drunks heckled the stand-up comic hector carries an implication of bullying and domineering. football players hectored by their coach chivy suggests persecution by teasing or nagging. chivied the new student mercilessly hound implies unrelenting pursuit and harassing. hounded by creditors

Examples of bait in a Sentence

Verb

baiting hooks with live worms The interviewer kept baiting the politician by asking him whether he was lying.

Noun

cheese used for bait in mousetraps Wait until the fish takes the bait. a wide selection of lures and baits
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Cagle’s campaign complains that Tippins coaxed and baited Casey into saying things. Bill Torpy, ajc, "Torpy at Large: Why Clay ‘The Mole’ Tippins went commando against Cagle," 22 June 2018 Philadelphia got into its offensive sets so quickly that Miami’s attempts to bait Simmons by dropping on pick-and-rolls proved fruitless. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "Ben Simmons Proving He Can Thrive As Philly's Lone Star," 16 Apr. 2018 Some Google employees who are diversity advocates said management had not taken action against people who tried to bait them into making angry statements. Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, "Google Is Trying Too Hard (or Not Hard Enough) to Diversify," 9 Mar. 2018 Animals could also be baited with sweets and killed or poisoned. Darryl Fears, chicagotribune.com, "Trump administration moves to end ban on Alaska hunting practices many say are cruel," 22 May 2018 Y'all hate the story line of somebody trying to bait me, huh? Aj Neuharth-keusch, USA TODAY, "Draymond Green to media after Rajon Rondo question: 'Y'all got to tell the truth'," 4 May 2018 The lines were baited with spawn sacs, shiner minnows or large fatheads. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Wisconsin's Lake Michigan harbors host world-class ice fishing for trout," 13 Jan. 2018 Justin baited half a frozen squid on his line and quickly snagged something large, the newspaper reported. Stephen Hudak, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Brevard family enjoys tiger-shark steaks for July 4 after teen's catch: report," 6 July 2018 In the space of two weeks in June, U.S. President Donald Trump first baited his supposed friends into a trade war by slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and other nations. Time, "Trump Is Trying to Dismantle the World Order. Is NATO Next on His List?," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The sky was empty — but as someone started scooping a smelly paste of beef fat into the water as bait, gulls appeared. Eric Boodman, STAT, "A career in biotech brought success. Then the birds came calling," 24 May 2018 Three days later an undercover investigation from Britain’s Channel 4 showed company head Alexander Nix pitching tactics that included bribery of local officials and extortion using Ukrainian women as bait. NBC News, "Inside the final days of Cambridge Analytica: failed rebrands, fleeing clients and Nerf basketball," 18 May 2018 Very clever, but this riff on the mall favorite tastes like a citrus-and-bait milkshake. Devra First, BostonGlobe.com, "What’s on the menu at Falmouth’s Buffalo Jump? ‘Weird food that only weirdos like’," 11 July 2018 Plenty of Lewandowskis were going to be baited on Fox News and elsewhere, and a few of them were going to be dumb enough to take the bait. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Corey Lewandowski’s predictably idiotic Down-syndrome gaffe," 20 June 2018 Harden, 28, didn’t take Anderson’s bait, laughing off the jabs rather than defending himself or returning fire. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "From Sixth Man to MVP: James Harden Reflects on Steady Climb to NBA Mountain Top," 26 June 2018 Work baits near grass beds, docks and points throughout the chain. Mark Blythe, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Fishing forecast: June 22, 2018," 22 June 2018 Rather than bite the bait, my grandma settled on a grunt and a glare before going on about her business. Lori D. Johnson, The Root, "The Inheritance," 3 June 2018 According to the lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court on Thursday, the state has authorized about 900 black bears to be killed since 2010 using bait, dogs and traps. Phuong Le, The Seattle Times, "Group sues Washington Fish and Wildlife over bear killings," 2 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bait.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bait

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

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

History and Etymology for bait

Verb

Middle English, from Old Norse beita; akin to Old English bǣtan to bait, bītan to bite — more at bite

Noun

Middle English, from Old Norse beit pasturage & beita food; akin to Old English bītan to bite

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Statistics for bait

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bait

The first known use of bait was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for bait

bait

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bait

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to put a piece of food on (a hook) or in (a trap) in order to attract and catch fish or animals

: to try to make (someone) angry by using criticism or insults

: to use dogs to make (an animal, such as a bear or bull) angry or afraid

bait

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bait (Entry 2 of 2)

: something (such as a piece of food) that is used to attract fish or animals so they can be caught

bait

noun
\ˈbāt \

Kids Definition of bait

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is used to attract fish or animals so they can be caught

bait

verb
baited; baiting

Kids Definition of bait (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put something (as food) on or in to attract and catch fish or animals bait a trap

2 : to torment by mean or unjust attacks They baited him by using a nickname he hated.

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Comments on bait

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