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bait

[beyt] /beɪt/
noun
1.
food, or some substitute, used as a lure in fishing, trapping, etc.
2.
a poisoned lure used in exterminating pests.
3.
an allurement; enticement:
Employees were lured with the bait of annual bonuses.
4.
an object for pulling molten or liquefied material, as glass, from a vat or the like by adhesion.
5.
South Midland and Southern U.S.
  1. a large or sufficient quantity or amount:
    He fetched a good bait of wood.
  2. an excessive quantity or amount.
6.
British Slang. food.
verb (used with object)
7.
to prepare (a hook or trap) with bait.
8.
to entice by deception or trickery so as to entrap or destroy:
using fake signal lights to bait the ships onto the rocks.
9.
to attract, tempt, or captivate.
10.
to set dogs upon (an animal) for sport.
11.
to worry, torment, or persecute, especially with malicious remarks:
a nasty habit of baiting defenseless subordinates.
12.
to tease:
They love to bait him about his gaudy ties.
13.
to feed and water (a horse or other animal), especially during a journey.
verb (used without object), Archaic.
14.
to stop for food or refreshment during a journey.
15.
(of a horse or other animal) to take food; feed.
Origin of bait
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English bait, beit (noun), baiten (v.) < Old Norse, probably reflecting both beita to pasture, hunt, chase with dogs or hawks (ultimately causative of bíta to bite; cf. bate3) and beita fish bait
Related forms
baiter, noun
overbait, verb (used with object)
rebait, verb (used with object)
unbait, verb (used with object)
Can be confused
bait, bate.
baited, bated.
Synonyms
11. badger, heckle, pester.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for baiting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let us see what sort of sport the bull-pups make in the baiting of him!

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • She was baiting him, tempting him to quarrel with her over the old grudge.

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
  • Some of the numerous disaffected were baiting the stages most of the time.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • He seemed to be baiting his hook for another cast in the river.

    Paul Patoff

    F. Marion Crawford
  • Her blandness was beyond all baiting; she professed she could be as still as a mouse.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James
  • Tony was sulky, and Constance could not forgo the pleasure of baiting him further.

    Jerry Jean Webster
  • Tony was sulky and Constance could not forego the pleasure of baiting him further.

    Jerry Junior Jean Webster
British Dictionary definitions for baiting

bait1

/beɪt/
noun
1.
something edible, such as soft bread paste, worms, or pieces of meat, fixed to a hook or in a trap to attract fish or animals
2.
an enticement; temptation
3.
a variant spelling of bate4
4.
(Northern English, dialect) food, esp a packed lunch
5.
(archaic) a short stop for refreshment during a journey
verb
6.
(transitive) to put a piece of food on or in (a hook or trap)
7.
(transitive) to persecute or tease
8.
(transitive) to entice; tempt
9.
(transitive) to set dogs upon (a bear, etc)
10.
(transitive) (archaic) to feed (a horse), esp during a break in a journey
11.
(intransitive) (archaic) to stop for rest and refreshment during a journey
Usage note
The phrase with bated breath is sometimes wrongly spelled with baited breath
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse beita to hunt, persecute; related to Old English bǣtan to restrain, hunt, Old High German beizen

bait2

/beɪt/
verb
1.
a variant spelling of bate2
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for baiting

bait

n.

"food put on a hook or trap to lure prey," c.1300, from Old Norse beita "food," related to Old Norse beit "pasture," Old English bat "food," literally "to cause to bite" (see bait (v.)). Figurative sense "anything used as a lure" is from c.1400.

bait

v.1

"to torment or goad (someone unable to escape, and to take pleasure in it)," c.1300, beyten, a figurative use from the literal sense of "to set dogs on," from the medieval entertainment of setting dogs on some ferocious animal to bite and worry it (the literal use is attested from c.1300); from Old Norse beita "to cause to bite," from Proto-Germanic *baitan (cf. Old English bætan "to cause to bite," Old High German beizzen "to bait," Middle High German beiz "hunting," German beizen "to hawk, to cauterize, etch"), causative of *bitan (see bite (v.)); the causative word forked into the two meanings of "harass" and "food offered." Related: Baited; baiting.

bait

v.2

"to put food on a hook or in a trap," c.1300, probably from bait (n.). Related: Baited; baiting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with baiting

bait

In addition to the idiom beginning with
bait
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Nearby words for baiting

Word Value for baiting

10
13
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