• Any substance, especially food, used in catching fish, or other animals, by alluring them to a hook, snare, trap, or net.
  • Food containing poison or a harmful additive to kill animals that are pests.
  • Anything which allures; something used to lure or entice someone or something into doing something
  • A portion of food or drink, as a refreshment taken on a journey; also, a stop for rest and refreshment.


  • To attract with bait; to entice.
  • To affix bait to a trap or a fishing hook or fishing line.
  • To set dogs on (an animal etc.) to bite or worry; to attack with dogs, especially for sport.
  • To intentionally annoy, torment, or threaten by constant rebukes or threats; to harass.
  • To feed and water (a horse or other animal), especially during a journey.
  • (of a horse or other animal) To take food, especially during a journey.
  • (of a person) To stop to take a portion of food and drink for refreshment during a journey.
  • To flap the wings; to flutter as if to fly; or to hover, as a hawk when she stoops to her prey.



  • From Middle English bayte, bait, beite, from Old Norse beita, from Proto-Germanic *baitō, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeyd-. Cognate with German Beize, Old English bāt. Related to bite.
  • From Middle English bayten, baiten, beiten, from Old Norse beita, from Proto-Germanic *baitijaną, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeyd-. Cognate with Icelandic beita, Swedish beta, German beizen, Old English bǣtan.
  • French battre de l'aile or des ailes, to flap or flutter.
  • Etymology unknown.

Modern English dictionary

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