bait

verb
\ ˈbāt How to pronounce bait (audio) \
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

Synonyms for bait

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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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 Both estimates fall well below the half-a-million crabs or more killed annually to bait eel and whelk pots. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "How the coronavirus vaccine relies on Maryland’s strangest fishery: horseshoe crabs," 31 Dec. 2020 But Cordero, bored and sensing their agita, decided to bait them even further by tweeting — falsely — that he’d subsequently been fined $150,000 by Grande’s label for his role in spreading the leak. New York Times, "How Pop Music Fandom Became Sports, Politics, Religion and All-Out War," 25 Dec. 2020 As in most lakes of this type, both current and bait schools are likely to be key to success. Frank Sargeant, al, "Bassmaster Elites to Visit Neely Henry Lake," 23 Dec. 2020 On his social media post, Tarrio seemed to bait police. Washington Post, "Proud Boys leader says he burned Black Lives Matter banner stolen from church during demonstrations in D.C.," 19 Dec. 2020 Tis' the season of classy awards bait, mammoth blockbusters, holiday comforts, and all the festival darlings that built buzz coming out of Telluride and Toronto. Keaton Bell, Vogue, "Every Movie We're Excited About This December," 15 Dec. 2020 Sometimes, retailers sell televisions with model numbers that are nearly identical to popular, high-quality sets just to bait you. Shira Ovide, New York Times, "America’s Internet Has China Envy," 16 Nov. 2020 With games either being played in empty stadiums or before a smattering of fans, road quarterbacks are able to effectively communicate and bait opposing defenses with hard counts (as the Vikings saw the Packers' Aaron Rodgers do in Week 1). Ben Goessling, Star Tribune, "The Bears' Soldier Field: Where Vikings' purple usually feels blue," 12 Nov. 2020 Most bait the crab traps with squid; some use salmon carcasses saved from the past summer’s fishing. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Dungeness crab sport season off to sensational start," 11 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rods are used for vertical jigging, or lightly bouncing the bait in the water, and dangling live minnows or small grubs. John Perritano, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Started in Ice Fishing," 22 Dec. 2020 NBC News found examples of at least nine local news outlets that have taken the bait. NBC News, "Anti-vaccination groups target local media after social media crackdowns," 17 Dec. 2020 The 72 Heavy Moderate Legend Glass rod has enough tip to rip the bait out of grass, enough backbone to hoist big fish out of the grass, and that parabolic bend to help keep those hydrilla gorillas pinned. Kristine Fischer, Outdoor Life, "A Last-Minute Fishing Gift Guide for the Diehard Angler on Your List," 17 Dec. 2020 Working the deeper pools had been best, keeping the bait ticking the river bottom under a stick float. cleveland, "Late fall area fishing in great shape right now: NE Ohio fishing report for the weekend of Dec. 11-13," 10 Dec. 2020 One turned, its eyes fixed on the bait, and attacked. Nate Matthews, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: Baja By Bike," 7 Dec. 2020 Otero, who had been assigned to moderate the event, takes the bait and protests the infraction. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "How Boys State Explains Trump’s Appeal," 25 Aug. 2020 For bass, topwater baits appear to be the bait of choice, at 5-10 feet for smallmouth bass and in thick weedbeds for largemouth bass. Star Tribune, "Minnesota fishing report," 6 Aug. 2020 There were also holes dug into the ground where the bait had been. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Hunting Giant Alaska Black Bears with Old-School Recurve Bows and Flintlocks," 22 Dec. 2020

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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Learn More about bait

Time Traveler for bait

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bait

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bait.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bait. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for bait

bait

verb
How to pronounce bait (audio)

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 How to pronounce bait (audio) \

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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