overbait

bait

[beyt]
noun
1.
food, or some substitute, used as a lure in fishing, trapping, etc.
2.
a poisoned lure used in exterminating pests.
3.
an allurement; enticement: Employees were lured with the bait of annual bonuses.
4.
an object for pulling molten or liquefied material, as glass, from a vat or the like by adhesion.
5.
South Midland and Southern U.S.
a.
a large or sufficient quantity or amount: He fetched a good bait of wood.
b.
an excessive quantity or amount.
6.
British Slang. food.
verb (used with object)
7.
to prepare (a hook or trap) with bait.
8.
to entice by deception or trickery so as to entrap or destroy: using fake signal lights to bait the ships onto the rocks.
9.
to attract, tempt, or captivate.
10.
to set dogs upon (an animal) for sport.
11.
to worry, torment, or persecute, especially with malicious remarks: a nasty habit of baiting defenseless subordinates.
12.
to tease: They love to bait him about his gaudy ties.
13.
to feed and water (a horse or other animal), especially during a journey.
verb (used without object) Archaic.
14.
to stop for food or refreshment during a journey.
15.
(of a horse or other animal) to take food; feed.

Origin:
1150–1200; Middle English bait, beit (noun), baiten (v.) < Old Norse, probably reflecting both beita to pasture, hunt, chase with dogs or hawks (ultimately causative of bíta to bite; cf. bate3) and beita fish bait

baiter, noun
overbait, verb (used with object)
rebait, verb (used with object)
unbait, verb (used with object)

1. bait, bate ; 2. baited, bated.


11. badger, heckle, pester.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
bait1 (beɪt)
 
n
1.  something edible, such as soft bread paste, worms, or pieces of meat, fixed to a hook or in a trap to attract fish or animals
2.  an enticement; temptation
3.  a variant spelling of bate
4.  dialect (Northern English) food, esp a packed lunch
5.  archaic a short stop for refreshment during a journey
 
vb
6.  (tr) to put a piece of food on or in (a hook or trap)
7.  (tr) to persecute or tease
8.  (tr) to entice; tempt
9.  (tr) to set dogs upon (a bear, etc)
10.  archaic (tr) to feed (a horse), esp during a break in a journey
11.  archaic (intr) to stop for rest and refreshment during a journey
 
usage  The phrase with bated breath is sometimes wrongly spelled with baited breath

bait2 (beɪt)
 
vb
a variant spelling of bate

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

bait
"food put on a hook or trap to lure prey," c.1300, from O.N. beita "food," related to O.N. beit "pasture," O.E. bat "food," lit. "to cause to bite" (see bait (v.)). Figurative sense "anything used as a lure" is from c.1400. The verb in this sense, "to put food on a hook or
in a trap," is attested from c.1300, probably from the noun.

bait
"to torment or goad (someone unable to escape, and to take pleasure in it)," c.1200, beyten, a figurative use from the literal sense of "to set dogs on," from the medieval entertainment of setting dogs on some ferocious animal to bite and worry it (the literal use is attested from c.1300); from O.N.
beita "to cause to bite," from P.Gmc. *baitan (cf. O.E. bætan "to cause to bite," O.H.G. beizzen "to bait," M.H.G. beiz "hunting," Ger. beizen "to hawk, to cauterize, etch"), causative of *bitan (see bite); the causative word forked into the two meanings of "harass" and "food offered."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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