click·​bait ˈklik-ˌbāt How to pronounce clickbait (audio)
: 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 But because the headlines and other text in Cards are abridged to fit the format, the headlines often lack the intricacies of the a complete article (and, in the opinion of some critics, incentivize short, clickbait pitches). Bykylie Robison, Fortune, 22 Aug. 2023 Whether through scrolling, watching talking heads, perusing clickbait articles or something else, their content is designed to keep you locked in. Tim Huelskamp, Rolling Stone, 7 Sep. 2023 There’s been talk that this is Stewart’s final rock ‘n’ roll tour, largely driven by media outlets misrepresenting something Stewart said in clickbait headlines. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 6 Aug. 2023 In 1900, this type of crude grasp for the reader’s attention was called yellow journalism, what might be called clickbait today. David Reamer | Alaska History, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Aug. 2023 Ads often pose as polls and have misleading clickbait headlines. David E. Clementson, The Conversation, 21 July 2023 In a world dominated by Instagram posts, clickbait articles, and cheap journalism, Cooper’s approach could prove to be a game changer for the new generations. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 13 July 2023 In this way, controversies siphon upward from clickbait sites to Fox News, and on into politically moderate sites like The New York Times. Claire Potter, The New Republic, 28 June 2023 Something wholesome and more real, versus all the sugar that is social media and useless clickbait. Matt Jancer, WIRED, 27 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clickbait.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1999, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of clickbait was in 1999

Dictionary Entries Near clickbait

Cite this Entry

“Clickbait.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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