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[hwahyt-beyt, wahyt-] /ˈʰwaɪtˌbeɪt, ˈwaɪt-/
noun, plural whitebait.
a young sprat or herring.
Cookery. any small, delicate fish cooked whole without being cleaned, especially the sprat.
1750-60; white + bait, so called from use as bait Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for whitebait
  • My latest such experience involved capturing and devouring whitebait.
  • Its younger set, coming shoreward for the first time to spawn, are caught as whitebait.
British Dictionary definitions for whitebait


the young of herrings, sprats, etc, cooked and eaten whole as a delicacy
any of various small silvery fishes, such as Galaxias attenuatus of Australia and New Zealand and Allosmerus elongatus of North American coastal regions of the Pacific
Word Origin
C18: from its formerly having been used as bait
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for whitebait


any of several species of small, slim schooling fish of the family Atherinidae (order Atheriniformes), found in freshwater and along coasts around the world in warm and temperate regions

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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