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 Many of the young anglers came into the session not knowing how to bait a hook or cast a line. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Pompano Beach Kids Fishing Club hooking young anglers," 1 Apr. 2021 Mummichog researchers used to bait the traps with high-end fish food, but then someone—no one remembers who—figured out that what the fish really like is cheap, store-brand hot dogs. Carrie Arnold, The Atlantic, "This Tiny Fish Can Withstand Almost Anything," 15 Mar. 2021 Baltimore cut bait the following August after Thomas punched teammate Chuck Clark in practice. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL free agency 2021: The 21 worst free agent moves in league history," 17 Mar. 2021 Its members have lionized Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator, and their events often appear to be thinly disguised pretexts to bait opponents into confrontations. New York Times, "Police Shrugged Off the Proud Boys, Until They Attacked the Capitol," 14 Mar. 2021 For sustenance, the creatures can’t resist dog meat, which is what the book’s heroines Maryse, Sadie and Chef bait their monster-traps with. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: ‘Into the Light’ Review," 26 Feb. 2021 This is a smart, empathetic drama that eschews flashy Oscar bait theatrics to present two completely genuine people. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 40 Best Movies on Netflix You Probably Haven’t Seen," 25 Feb. 2021 Early in the fishing season, bait catches more fish than lures. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Let's go fishing - everything you need to know about visiting San Pablo Reservoir," 18 Feb. 2021 The email attempts to bait tax preparers into opening a link or attachment. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "IRS to start processing 2020 tax returns Friday: What to know before you file," 12 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The fake Trezor app got through the app store through a bait-and-switch, according to Apple. Washington Post, "He believed Apple’s App Store was safe. Then a fake app stole his life savings in bitcoin.," 30 Mar. 2021 The two graduated from pinheads to deckhands and eventually to full-fledged fishermen, able to work not only on commercial fishing expeditions but also whale-watching cruises and at bait-and-tackle businesses. Los Angeles Times, "As a 9-year-old, she was saved at sea. Thirty-five years later, she reunited with her rescuers," 10 Mar. 2021 The tweets were well-intentioned, but they are being referred to as a bait-and-switch approach. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "Burger King tweet gets whopped by critics for trolling with ‘misogyny’," 8 Mar. 2021 There's a bait-and-switch battle, the general triumph of good over evil, plenty of unanswered questions left up to future films. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "The emotional catharsis of 'Wandavision' in a year of grief," 6 Mar. 2021 Actors, directors, and theaters were quick to denounce Warner Bros.’ move as a bait-and-switch tactic to buoy an underperforming streaming platform, and for moviegoers and moviemakers alike, this streaming shakeup leaves many questions. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "How will Warner Bros. streaming impact moviegoing? Three questions.," 8 Jan. 2021 The platforms were also involved in making false promotions and employing bait-and-switch tactics, the regulator said. Chong Koh Ping, WSJ, "China Fines Alibaba, JD.com, Vipshop Over Pricing Complaints," 30 Dec. 2020 This kind of review bait-and-switch is not a new problem. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Amazon still hasn’t fixed its problem with bait-and-switch reviews," 30 Dec. 2020 Video games are particularly susceptible to the bait-and-switch. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "How Cyberpunk 2077 Sold a Promise—and Rigged the System," 15 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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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

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bait.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bait. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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