Word of the Day: Bait


bait / bāt


1. food used to lure or entice fish or animals

The fish does not go after the hook, but after the bait.

Czech Proverb

2. something that entices or allures; a temptation

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.

Thomas Jefferson, 1743 – 1826


1. to place a lure on a hook or in a trap

Bait the hook well and the fish will bite.

American Proverb

2. to lure or entice

Deliberate tactical errors and minor losses are the means by which to bait the enemy.

Sun Bin, ? – 316 BC

3. to set dogs upon an animal for sport

As such, the match would end when the dogs pinned the bull down or when there were no more dogs left that were capable of baiting the bull anymore.

“The Dark History of Pitbulls – The Original Purpose of Pit Bulls”, ‘The Smart Canine’, www.thesmartcanine.com/history-of-pitbulls, accessed March 29, 2023

4. to provoke or harass with constant taunting or ridicule

Vegans and vegetarians are commonly baited by nonvegetarians with “what if” scenarios that typically have no relevance to or bearing on most people’s real-life situations.

From “Being Vegan” by Joanne Stepaniak, 1954 –

5. (archaic) to feed an animal during a break in a journey

From this camp on we had a chance to ride over smooth going, and we only stopped long enough to bait the horses until we reached Bull creek right in the heart of the enemy’s country, where we camped for the night some three hours after dark.

From a letter to Art from John Lawrie, April 16, 1857, “Letters on the War in Kansas in 1856”, ‘Knasas Historical Society

6. (archaic) to stop for food and rest during a journey

As one who on his journey baits at noon,

Tho’ bent on speed: so here the archangel paus’d.

From “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, 1608 – 1674