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 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 Many hunters downplay their willingness to bait, or their reliance on it. Tony J. Peterson, Outdoor Life, "How to Kill Big Bucks in States That Allow Baiting...Without Baiting," 3 Nov. 2020 That’s followed by the endless phone calls; to bait shops and fishing lakes, to farmers markets and greenhouses and friends who might have a tidbit to share. David Lyman, The Enquirer, "Meet the Ole Fisherman, Bethel's local-celebrity columnist for more than 30 years," 2 Nov. 2020 At the very least, fly fishing is an alternative to bait casting. oregonlive, "Learning to fly fish on Oregon’s Crooked River: Peak Northwest (video)," 22 Oct. 2020 Given Mensah’s notoriety, people could bait him into shooting them, exposing the city to lawsuits costing millions of dollars, Biskupic said. Todd Richmond, chicagotribune.com, "Wisconsin cop should be fired after 3 fatal shootings over 5 years in Milwaukee suburb, investigators conclude," 7 Oct. 2020 Many conservatives — including Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio and Ms. McEnany — reposted the piece to bait the company into taking down their tweets or locking their accounts. Kate Conger, New York Times, "In Reversal, Twitter Is No Longer Blocking New York Post Article," 16 Oct. 2020 Among other things, the TTI in general has been accused of using deceptive marketing practices to bait desperate parents, and deploying inhumane methods of punishment, including long periods of solitary confinement. Rosemary Donahue, Allure, "Paris Hilton Won’t Give Up Until She’s Shut Down the Entire Troubled Teen Industry," 13 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun All of these presumably represent trade bait if available when the Cowboys are on the clock. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "Forget the NFC East. The rest of the Cowboys’ season is all about the Jets, Jaguars and loss column," 10 Nov. 2020 When the gator takes the bait, it gets caught on the hook. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "How to Hunt Your First Alligator. Plus, the 7 Best Gator States," 9 Nov. 2020 There are so many interconnected trails packed into the hilly parcel in northwest Sedona that the graphic representation looks like something that escaped a bait box. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, "Hidden Sedona hike: Get red-rock views galore on this less-known route. Here's how," 5 Nov. 2020 Also, any bait or feed used to attract deer must be gone for 10 days before an area can be hunted. Star Tribune, "Safety should be top priority when deer hunting," 5 Nov. 2020 The drive for polarizing, clickable hate bait has left truth itself behind. Raven Smith, Vogue, "A Solemn Plea to Take Care of Yourself Today," 4 Nov. 2020 The routine includes removing gas pumps used to fuel boats, loading frozen bait onto old school buses that have been converted into mobile freezer units and tying down trash cans to keep them from floating off. Rebecca Santana, Anchorage Daily News, "Gulf Coast braces again for a hurricane after Zeta rakes Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula," 27 Oct. 2020 In this case, on October 21 and 22 trappers collected four live worker hornets from bottles to which they’d been drawn by bait. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "First 'murder hornet' nest found in U.S., a key step in preventing spread," 23 Oct. 2020 Within two months, North Korean radar operators took the bait—but both drones were brought down without picking up any crucial information. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The 200 Millisecond Mission: Inside the Secret CIA Plan to Steal Soviet Missile Data," 28 Oct. 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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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

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bait.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bait. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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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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