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

For its part, YouTube says it’s already done the work of combating clickbait on the site. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "YouTube is full of cringey, clickbait DIY channels. They’re even weirder than you think.," 12 Nov. 2018 But as Oliver points out, the things that Facebook apologizes for in its original ad — like rampant clickbait, data misuse, and virally trending false stories — didn’t happen in a vacuum. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "John Oliver fixes Facebook’s apology ad to remind you that the company still doesn’t care about you," 30 July 2018 We're caught in this bad equilibrium where everybody has to write clickbait stuff. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "Judd Legum Wants to Fix News With a Newsletter," 12 July 2018 High-quality publishers were losing out to sketchy clickbait factories. New York Times, "And for His Next Act, Ev Williams Will Fix the Internet," 9 May 2018 Stories about successful Notre Dame football teams are bigger clickbait than stories about kittens who befriend baby turtles. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Notre Dame Is Undefeated and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next," 1 Oct. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of clickbait

1999, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about clickbait

Dictionary Entries near clickbait





click beetle



Statistics for clickbait

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clickbait

The first known use of clickbait was in 1999

See more words from the same year

Comments on clickbait

What made you want to look up clickbait? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the perfect form or example of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!