Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Food or other lure placed on a hook or in a trap and used in the taking of fish, birds, or other animals.
  • n. Something, such as a worm, used for this purpose.
  • n. An enticement; a temptation.
  • n. Archaic A stop for food or rest during a trip.
  • transitive v. To place a lure in (a trap) or on (a fishing hook).
  • transitive v. To entice, especially by trickery or strategy.
  • transitive v. To set dogs upon (a chained animal, for example) for sport.
  • transitive v. To attack or torment, especially with persistent insults, criticism, or ridicule.
  • transitive v. To tease.
  • transitive v. To feed (an animal), especially on a journey.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To stop for food or rest during a trip.
  • v. Variant of bate2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any substance, especially food, used in catching fish, or other animals, by alluring them to a hook, snare, trap, or net.
  • n. Food containing poison or a harmful additive to kill animals that are pests.
  • n. Anything which allures; a lure; enticement; temptation.
  • n. A portion of food or drink, as a refreshment taken on a journey; also, a stop for rest and refreshment.
  • n. A light or hasty luncheon.
  • v. To set dogs on (an animal etc.) to bite or worry; to attack with dogs, especially for sport.
  • v. To intentionally annoy, torment, or threaten by constant rebukes or threats; to harass.
  • v. To feed and water (a horse or other animal), especially during a journey.
  • v. Of a horse or other animal: to take food, especially during a journey.
  • v. To attract with bait; to entice.
  • v. To affix bait to a fishing hook or fishing line.
  • v. To flap the wings; to flutter as if to fly; or to hover, as a hawk when she stoops to her prey.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any substance, esp. food, used in catching fish, or other animals, by alluring them to a hook, snare, inclosure, or net.
  • n. Anything which allures; a lure; enticement; temptation.
  • n. A portion of food or drink, as a refreshment taken on a journey; also, a stop for rest and refreshment.
  • n. A light or hasty luncheon.
  • transitive v. To provoke and harass; esp., to harass or torment for sport.
  • transitive v. To give a portion of food and drink to, upon the road.
  • transitive v. To furnish or cover with bait, as a trap or hook.
  • intransitive v. To stop to take a portion of food and drink for refreshment of one's self or one's beasts, on a journey.
  • intransitive v. To flap the wings; to flutter as if to fly; or to hover, as a hawk when she stoops to her prey.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • . To cause to bite; set on (a dog) to bite or worry (another animal).
  • To provoke and harass by setting on dogs; set a dog or dogs to worry or fight with for sport, as an animal that is hampered or confined: as, to bait a bull or a bear.
  • To set upon, as a dog upon a captive animal; hence, to harass in any way; annoy; nag; badger; worry.
  • To feed; give a portion of food and drink to, especially upon a journey: as, to bait horses.
  • To put a bait on or in: as, to bait a hook, line, snare, or trap.
  • . To allure by a bait; catch; captivate: as, “to bait fish,”
  • . To act in a worrying or harassing manner.
  • To take food; feed.
  • To stop at an inn, while on a journey, to feed the horses, or for rest and refreshment.
  • n. Any substance, as an attractive morsel of food, placed on a hook or in a trap to allure fish or other animals to swallow the hook or to enter the trap, and thereby be caught; specifically, worms, small fishes, etc., used in fishing.
  • n. An allurement; enticement; temptation.
  • n. A portion of food and drink; a slight or informal repast. Refreshment taken on a journey, by man or beast.
  • n. A luncheon; food eaten by a laborer during his shift.
  • n. A halt for refreshment or rest in the course of a journey.
  • n. A refreshment or refresher.
  • n. A hasty meal; a snack.
  • n. Short for whitebait.
  • n. etc. An obsolete form of bate, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. harass with persistent criticism or carping
  • n. anything that serves as an enticement
  • n. something used to lure fish or other animals into danger so they can be trapped or killed
  • v. attack with dogs or set dogs upon
  • v. lure, entice, or entrap with bait

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old Norse beita, food, fodder, fish bait. V., from Old Norse beita, to put animals to pasture, hunt with dogs; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English bait, beite, from Old Norse beita ("food, bait"), from Proto-Germanic *baitō (“that which is bitten, bait”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeyd- (“to cleave, split, separate”). Cognate with German Beize ("mordant, corrosive fluid; marinade; hunting"), Old English bāt ("that which can be bitten, food, bait"). Related to bite. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English baiten, beiten, from Old Norse beita ("to bait, cause to bite, feed, hunt"), from Proto-Germanic *baitijanan (“to cause to bite, bridle”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeyd- (“to cleave, split, separate”). Cognate with Icelandic beita ("to bait"), Swedish beta ("to bait, pasture, graze"), German beizen ("to cause to bite, bait"), Old English bǣtan ("to bait, hunt, bridle, bit"). (Wiktionary)
French battre de l'aile or des ailes, to flap or flutter. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • this is also London slang for 'obvious'
    urban dictionary's definition:
    " bait
    when something is made blatantly obvious "

    February 23, 2013