People who go fishing aren’t the only ones to use bait. When you hold a yard sale, place your best stuff closest to the sidewalk — to serve as bait. Bait can be anything from the worms that hide a hook to a stereo that tempts shoppers to stop and browse.

Bait can also mean the act of getting someone or something to do what you want. For generations, students have baited their teachers into wasting class time with a question about a personal interest or obsession: “This talk about integers is very fascinating, Mr. Green, but what do you think about last night’s Penguins game?” Bait comes from the Old Norse, word beita — “to cause to bite.” Asking Mr. Green what other Viking words he knows might be interesting, and provide bait for his next off-topic musing.

Definitions of bait
  1. noun
    something used to lure fish or other animals into danger so they can be trapped or killed
    synonyms: decoy, lure
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    bait consisting of chopped fish and fish oils that are dumped overboard to attract fish
    fish lure, fisherman's lure
    (angling) any bright artificial bait consisting of plastic or metal mounted with hooks and trimmed with feathers
    ground bait
    bait scattered on the water to attract fish
    stool pigeon
    a dummy pigeon used to decoy others
    fisherman's lure consisting of a fishhook decorated to look like an insect
    a fisherman's lure with one or more hooks that is jerked up and down in the water
    fisherman's lure; revolves when drawn through the water
    a fisherman's lure that is used in trolling
    type of:
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  2. noun
    anything that serves as an enticement
    synonyms: come-on, hook, lure, sweetener
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    type of:
    enticement, temptation
    something that seduces or has the quality to seduce
  3. verb
    lure, entice, or entrap with bait
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    type of:
    entice, lure, tempt
    provoke someone to do something through (often false or exaggerated) promises or persuasion
  4. verb
    attack with dogs or set dogs upon
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    type of:
    assail, assault, attack, set on
    attack someone physically or emotionally
  5. verb
    harass with persistent criticism or carping
    synonyms: cod, rag, rally, razz, ride, tantalise, tantalize, taunt, tease, twit
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    barrack, flout, gibe, jeer, scoff
    laugh at with contempt and derision
    banter, chaff, jolly, josh, kid
    be silly or tease one another
    type of:
    bemock, mock
    treat with contempt
Word Family

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