- food, or some substitute, used as a lure in fishing, trapping, etc.
- a poisoned lure used in exterminating pests.
- an allurement; enticement: Employees were lured with the bait of annual bonuses.
- an object for pulling molten or liquefied material, as glass, from a vat or the like by adhesion.
- South Midland and Southern U.S.
- a large or sufficient quantity or amount: He fetched a good bait of wood.
- an excessive quantity or amount.
- British Slang. food.
- to prepare (a hook or trap) with bait.
- to entice by deception or trickery so as to entrap or destroy: using fake signal lights to bait the ships onto the rocks.
- to attract, tempt, or captivate.
- to set dogs upon (an animal) for sport.
- to worry, torment, or persecute, especially with malicious remarks: a nasty habit of baiting defenseless subordinates.
- to tease: They love to bait him about his gaudy ties.
- to feed and water (a horse or other animal), especially during a journey.
Origin of bait
SynonymsSee more synonyms for bait on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for bait
The gang does bait two officers with Noah, but another car comes tearing in and whisks them both away.The Walking Dead’s ‘Crossed’: The Stage Is Now Set for a Bloody, Deadly Midseason Finale
November 24, 2014
In November, Maine voters will vote on whether to ban using dogs, traps, and bait to hunt black bears in the Pine Tree State.America’s Most Important (and Wackiest) Referendums This November
October 22, 2014
“A lot of times the people who are being smuggled here are just being used as bait,” he says.How Mexico’s Cartels Are Behind the Border Kid Crisis
July 9, 2014
The Frisky took the bait, writing that “If famous works of art had been created today, they might have a whole different look.”Botticelli's Venus Gets Photoshop Treatment
May 25, 2014
The question is whether any Republican senators will take the bait.Could Shutdown Skeletons Haunt Sylvia Burwell?
April 11, 2014
Robert went out into the garden, and dug some worms for bait.Brave and Bold
The waters were full of fish, but they would not take the bait.
Johnson was stationed in the powder-magazine, in charge of the cord which held the bait.The Field of Ice
A whale swallowed this bait and then tried to escape as he felt the rope pulling him.Classic Myths
Mary Catherine Judd
Give my horse a bait and a drink, I beg of ye, for I must get on my way.'Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
- 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
- an enticement; temptation
- a variant spelling of bate 4
- Northern English dialect food, esp a packed lunch
- archaic a short stop for refreshment during a journey
- (tr) to put a piece of food on or in (a hook or trap)
- (tr) to persecute or tease
- (tr) to entice; tempt
- (tr) to set dogs upon (a bear, etc)
- (tr) archaic to feed (a horse), esp during a break in a journey
- (intr) archaic to stop for rest and refreshment during a journey
- a variant spelling of bate 2
Word Origin and History for bait
"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.
"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.
"to put food on a hook or in a trap," c.1300, probably from bait (n.). Related: Baited; baiting.
Idioms and Phrases with bait
In addition to the idiom beginning with bait
- bait and switch
- fish or cut bait
- jump at (the bait)
- rise to the bait