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

In February, Howard created headlines getting baited into guaranteeing a playoff berth on a light-hearted NFL Network segment. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Quietly, emerging leader Jordan Howard catching onto Bears' new offense," 31 May 2018 First, North Korea comes out as the big winner by baiting Trump into canceling the meeting and having broken maximum pressure with its outreach to China. Sean Illing, Vox, "Trump just canceled the North Korea summit. 9 experts explain what happens now.," 24 May 2018 The difference between LeBron's relief and resentment came from a Green post-up, a Love jumper and Hill's ability to bait defenders into fouls. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "In LeBron James's—Very Short—Absence, the Cavs Show Us Who They Can Be," 29 Apr. 2018 Another reason is that Jared Goff paid close attention to the body language and mechanical nuances that are important for baiting a defense on screens. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "The NFL’s Most Dynamic Team? 10 Thoughts on the 2018 Rams," 18 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Based on its all-star lineup and director—McKay is the man behind The Big Short, Succession, Anchorman, and the forthcoming Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos biopic, Bad Blood—Vice is shaping up to be seriously buzzy awards season bait. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The New Vice Trailer Just Might Cure Your Bush Administration Nostalgia," 3 Oct. 2018 To say that the Hello Kitty Grand Café is Instagram bait is a massive understatement — the place is primed for IG, with its themed décor and all that pink. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Sanrio to Open First-Ever Hello Kitty Grand Café," 8 Sep. 2018 For the Instagram Influencer This third-floor apartment, about 20 minutes outside of the city center on foot, is Instagram bait. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Best Airbnbs in Reykjavík," 9 Aug. 2018 That was just the bait, police say Wounds the bear inflicted on the beagle’s side and rear end required several stitches, according to the conservation officer . Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Bear circled and swatted his beagle. Owner punched the bear in the nose, Michigan cops say," 29 May 2018 Schwartz owns a bait and tackle shop along the White River in downtown Noblesville and has been on the council since 2003. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office declines to file charges over missing campaign signs," 3 May 2018 More soft-plastic baits are on the horizon for next year. John Goodspeed, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio company hooks a winner with natural sounds in lures," 26 Apr. 2018 Glide baits and swimbaits have been the top producers. sacbee, "Fishing line: Striper action takes off near Colusa and on Feather River | The Sacramento Bee," 23 Apr. 2018 Creature baits and craws are almost as popular among bass and even redfish anglers as trolling motors, but not every one is created equal. Todd Masson, NOLA.com, "Pool Test: Which creature bait looks best underwater?," 19 Apr. 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

20 Nov 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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