click·bait | \ˈklik-ˌbāt \

Definition of clickbait 

: something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest It is difficult to remember a time when you could scroll through the social media outlet of your choice and not be bombarded with: You'll never believe what happened when … This is the cutest thing ever … This the biggest mistake you can make … Take this quiz to see which character you are on … They are all classic clickbait models.— Emily Shire

Examples of clickbait in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

To add insult to injury, Sorrentino had become tabloid clickbait fodder for his OG MTV fans., "The Situation Was The Big Winner Of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation," 29 June 2018 Both stories could be true, and the first headline isn’t clickbait. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "Exclusive: Facebook Opens Up About False News," 23 May 2018 And shame on those of you who perpetuate this destructive clickbait. Colin Stutz, Billboard, "Tool's Maynard James Keenan Calls Rape Allegation a 'Despicable False Claim'," 28 June 2018 But then, clickbait began dropping into the lake of public opinion. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "We the seagulls," 22 June 2018 The nuances and ambiguities of Lynch’s statement didn’t stop other websites from publishing clickbait headlines suggesting that the director of Twin Peaks was a MAGA-head. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Clickbait headlines mistakenly convince Trump that David Lynch loves him.," 26 June 2018 Mass manipulation, from clickbait to Russian bots to the addictive trickery that governs Facebook’s News Feed, is the currency of the medium. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The End of Reality," 8 Apr. 2018 Who at the @dccc thought this clickbait email subject line was a good idea? Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Pelosi claims Mueller was ‘fired’ in bizarre email to donors," 16 Apr. 2018 Facebook is attempting to clean up its platform, and some creators did clutter the site with clickbait and spammy links. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Facebook’s Other Critics: Its Viral Stars," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clickbait.' 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 clickbait

1999, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near clickbait





click beetle



Statistics for clickbait

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for clickbait

The first known use of clickbait was in 1999

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