click·​bait | \ ˈklik-ˌbāt How to pronounce clickbait (audio) \

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 Food & Wine magazine has just posted some serious clickbait. Rick Nelson, Star Tribune, "Minnesota's best doughnut? Food & Wine magazine says it's in Lindstrom," 8 Feb. 2021 There is no age-and-gender-appropriate clickbait, no ads for drain de-cloggers and books by German philosophers. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "Wikipedia, “Jeopardy!,” and the Fate of the Fact," 16 Nov. 2020 The term gained traction in 2018, after Mark Zuckerberg wrote a blog post about Facebook’s decision to limit the spread of clickbait and misinformation. Ysabel Gerrard, Wired, "The Perils of Moderating Depression on Social Media," 4 Nov. 2020 Feigning gay as a form of clickbait is not limited to small-fry TikTok creators trying to grow their audience. Alex Hawgood, New York Times, "Everyone Is Gay on TikTok," 24 Oct. 2020 Good journalism isn’t free, and many publications have subsidized it using digital ads attached to cynical clickbait, among other questionable and increasingly ineffective techniques. David Klion, The New Republic, "The Atlantic and the Limits of Reasonableness," 20 Oct. 2020 The internet is an endless sea of lists, and it’s tempting to view the Rolling Stone 500 as just one more piece of clickbait. Mark Richardson, WSJ, "Rolling Stone’s Canon Fodder," 6 Oct. 2020 Learn tips to evaluate fact from fiction, such as reading beyond the headline, detecting clickbait and checking sources. cleveland, "Avon city-wide scavenger hunt sweepstakes features duct tape sculptures: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 12 Sep. 2020 An anger-provoking headline on social media might be nothing more than manipulative clickbait, intended to sell a product or profit in some way from a reader’s attention. Porismita Borah, The Conversation, "Here’s how to talk to vaccine skeptics so they might actually hear you," 20 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for clickbait

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The first known use of clickbait was in 1999

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Statistics for clickbait

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Clickbait.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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