What does bait mean?

Definitions for bait

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word bait.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. bait, come-on, hook, lure, sweetenernoun

    anything that serves as an enticement

  2. bait, decoy, lureverb

    something used to lure fish or other animals into danger so they can be trapped or killed

  3. tease, razz, rag, cod, tantalize, tantalise, bait, taunt, twit, rally, rideverb

    harass with persistent criticism or carping

    "The children teased the new teacher"; "Don't ride me so hard over my failure"; "His fellow workers razzed him when he wore a jacket and tie"

  4. baitverb

    lure, entice, or entrap with bait

  5. baitverb

    attack with dogs or set dogs upon

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Baitnoun

    Etymology: from the verb.

    The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish
    Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
    And greedily devour the treacherous bait. William Shakespeare, Much ado about Nothing.

    And that same glorious beauty’s idle boast,
    Is but a bait such wretches to beguile. Edmund Spenser, sonnet xli.

    Taketh therewith the souls of men, as with certain baits. Richard Hooker, b. v. § 35.

    Sweet words I grant, baits and allurements sweet
    But greatest hopes of greatest crosses meet. Edward Fairfax, b. ii.

    Fruit, like that
    Which grew in paradise, the bait of Eve
    Us’d by the tempter. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. x. l. 551.

    Secure from foolish pride’s affected state,
    And specious flattery’s more pernicious bait. Wentworth Dillon.

    Her head was bare,
    But for her native ornament of hair,
    Which in a simple knot was ty’d above:
    Sweet negligence! unheeded bait of love! John Dryden, Fab.

    Grant that others could with equal glory,
    Look down on pleasures, and the baits of sense. Joseph Addison, Cato.

  2. To Baitverb

    Etymology: batan, Sax. baitzen, Germ.

    Oh, cunning enemy, that to catch a saint,
    With saints dost bait thy hook! most dangerous
    Is that temptation that doth goad us on
    To sin in loving virtue. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

    Let’s be revenged on him; let’s appoint him a meeting, give him a show of comfort in his suit, and lead him on with a sure baited delay, till he hath pawned his horses to mine host of the garter. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    Many sorts of fishes feed upon insects, as is well known to anglers, who bait their hooks with them. John Ray.

    How are the sex improv’d in am’rous arts!
    What new-found snares they bait for human hearts! John Gay.

    What so strong,
    But wanting rest, will also want of might?
    The sun, that measures heaven all day long,
    At night doth bait his steeds the ocean waves among. F. Q.

  3. To Baitverb

    To attack with violence; to set dogs upon.

    Etymology: batan, Sax. baitzen, Germ.

    Who seeming sorely chaffed at his band,
    As chained bear, whom cruel dogs do bait,
    With idle force did fain them to withstand. Fairy Queen.

    I will not yield
    To kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet;
    And so be baited with the rabble’s curse. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

  4. To Baitverb

    To stop at any place for refreshment; perhaps this word is more properly bate; to abate speed.

    But our desires, tyrannical extorsion
    Doth force us there to set our chief delightfulness,
    Where but a baiting place is all our portion. Philip Sidney.

    As one who on his journey baits at noon,
    Tho’ bent on speed: so here the archangel paus’d. Par. Lost.

    In all our journey from London to his house, we did not so much as bait at a whig inn. Joseph Addison, Spectat. №. 126.

  5. To Baitverb

    To clap the wings; to make an offer of flying; to flutter.

    All plum’d like estridges, that with the wind
    Baited like eagles having lately bath’d;
    Glittering in golden coats like images. William Shakespeare, Henry IV.

    Hood my unman’d blood baiting in my cheeks
    With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
    Thinks true love acted simple modesty. William Shakespeare, Rom. and Jul.

    Another way I have to man my haggard,
    To make her come, and know her keepers call;
    That is, to watch her as we watch these kites,
    That bait and beat, and will not be obedient. William Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew.


  1. bait

    Bait is a substance, object, or device used to lure or entice someone or something into doing something or going somewhere, often into a trap or dangerous situation. It is commonly used in fishing or hunting to attract the animal being sought, but can also refer to a tempting offer or incentive used to draw in people.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Baitverb

    any substance, esp. food, used in catching fish, or other animals, by alluring them to a hook, snare, inclosure, or net

  2. Baitverb

    anything which allures; a lure; enticement; temptation

  3. Baitverb

    a portion of food or drink, as a refreshment taken on a journey; also, a stop for rest and refreshment

  4. Baitverb

    a light or hasty luncheon

  5. Baitverb

    to provoke and harass; esp., to harass or torment for sport; as, to bait a bear with dogs; to bait a bull

  6. Baitverb

    to give a portion of food and drink to, upon the road; as, to bait horses

  7. Baitverb

    to furnish or cover with bait, as a trap or hook

  8. Baitverb

    to stop to take a portion of food and drink for refreshment of one's self or one's beasts, on a journey

  9. Baitverb

    to flap the wings; to flutter as if to fly; or to hover, as a hawk when she stoops to her prey


  1. Bait

    Bait is any substance used to attract prey, e.g. in a mousetrap.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Bait

    bāt, n. food put on a hook to allure fish or make them bite: any allurement or temptation: a refreshment taken on a journey, or the time taken up by such.—v.t. to set food as a lure: to give refreshment on a journey: to set dogs on a bear, badger, &c.: to worry, persecute, harass.—v.i. to take refreshment on a journey. [M. E. beyten—Scand. beita, to make to bite, causal of bíta, to bite.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. bait

    The natural or artificial charge of a hook, to allure fish.

Suggested Resources

  1. BAIT

    What does BAIT stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the BAIT acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce bait?

How to say bait in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of bait in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of bait in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of bait in a Sentence

  1. Donald Trump:

    You know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That's bait.

  2. Nathan Jensen:

    I am not sure how this will play out in the public after having this beauty contest across 200 plus locations and promising so much investment and jobs, this could feel like a bait and switch for some cities.

  3. Chuck Schumer:

    It is not a final deadline for legislative text. It is not a cynical ploy, it is not a fish-or-cut-bait moment. It is not an attempt to jam anyone. It is only a signal that Senate Democrats is ready to get the process started – something Senate Democrats has routinely done on other bipartisan bills this year.

  4. Di Leonardo:

    When we got out there. I started by throwing a little bait – a wild animal would typically be in flight mode but these guys were totally tame. They started eating the bait within a foot of me. The boats got a little too close so they got spooked. I quickly netted the male. When I realized they were going to swim I put him in a carrier on the shore and I carried the female. We were able to reunite them, these guys aren’t equipped for the wild at all.

  5. Sun-Tzu:

    All warfare is based on deception. There is no place where espionage is not used. Offer the enemy bait to lure him.

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Translations for bait

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"bait." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/bait>.

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    cause to spread or flush or flood through, over, or across
    • A. suffuse
    • B. flub
    • C. exacerbate
    • D. aberrate

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