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

hassle, haze, heckle, needle, ride, taunt, tease

Synonyms: Noun

decoy, lure

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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

And so the Apple Card charges into the financial world in which cheery, millennial-baiting websites and apps try to displace the gloomy, buttoned-up mortgage lenders and bankers of old with smile and that Silicon Valley sheen. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Apple Is a Credit Card Company Now," 25 Mar. 2019 The animal made it to the roof early Wednesday, where traps baited with cat food were waiting. Washington Post, "Idaho boy recovering from bubonic plague; state’s first case in more than 40 years," 14 June 2018 The red-baiting ended up serving as some of the most effective attacks against King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Jason Miller, Smithsonian, "In His Speeches, MLK Carefully Evoked the Poetry of Langston Hughes," 3 Apr. 2018 Breaking out a window or sending down window cleaners would have been too risky, Ms. Donnelly-Coyne said, so officials baited live traps with cat food and placed them on the roof. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "Daredevil Raccoon Climbs Minnesota Skyscraper and Becomes a Sensation," 13 June 2018 The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland came just 16 days after Corcoran launched an expensive, controversial television ad, which brought accusations of race-baiting. Emily L. Mahoney And Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Why Richard Corcoran failed in his bid to become Florida governor | Miami Herald," 10 May 2018 Only about 4 inches in length, this predator was attracted to traps baited with mackerel. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Meet the top 10 new species of 2018," 23 May 2018 The irony of Disney canning Roseanne while continuing to employ some of the industries biggest racist and race baiting frauds like Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Steve A Smith is not lost on most. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Here is a list of people who have come to Roseanne Barr's defense," 30 May 2018 That's a once in a lifetime experience where the shark was not baited and thus was super chill. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "16-foot great white shark comes within 'arm's length' of underwater photographer," 24 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The design, which requires the skirt to be fully, awkwardly fanned out to be seen, is pure, unadulterated meme-bait. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Miss Universe Singapore’s pageant dress is a giant mural of Trump and Kim Jong Un shaking hands," 29 Nov. 2018 Troll for trout, throw plastics and crankbaits for bass or toss small jigs and crankbaits tipped with worms or cut bait to tempt bluegill, crappie and perch. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Warm Lake offers chance to beat the heat, catch some fish near Cascade," 9 July 2018 Still, the president may have been too eager to take the bait. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Why Deep State Throat hurt his own cause by trashing Trump in the Times," 7 Sep. 2018 Unfortunately, in his career as an actual legislative leader, Ryan executed a massive bait-and-switch on the question of making work pay. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Paul Ryan’s farewell address contained a blaze of nonsense about poverty," 20 Dec. 2018 The top players are, for the most part, a murderers’ row of familiar Emmy bait. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: How Netflix Edged HBO and What It Means for This Year's Race," 12 July 2018 Catfish Marv prefers to mold a ball of cheese bait around a No. Ralph Winingham, San Antonio Express-News, "Hot weather cats: Choke Canyon angling kicks into summer mode," 5 July 2018 In others, drifting a pungent chunk of bait is the ticket for catching catfish. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Don't mock the angler who catches fish in creative ways," 29 June 2018 At Middlegrounds, the fish finder lit up with an abundance of bait right under our boat. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Salmon opener brings mysteries, chance of mayhem," 10 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

22 May 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on bait

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bait

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bait

Spanish Central: Translation of bait

Nglish: Translation of bait for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bait for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bait

Comments on bait

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