bait


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cut bait

1. To give up on something. Taken from the phrase "fish or cut bait," meaning to either work productively or else stand aside. After three years of hating medical school, Sean decided it was time to cut bait and try something different.
2. Literally, to cut fish into small pieces to be used as bait. These days, bait is mostly processed in a factory, but I still like to cut bait myself when I'm out fishing.
See also: bait, cut

shark bait

1. slang A person swimming or surfing alone in the ocean. We sat on the beach with our drinks, watching the foolish shark bait going into the water alone for an evening swim.
2. (Hawaii slang) A very pale beachgoer, especially a tourist. (Supposedly because pale skin is attractive to sharks.) We don't hang out in this part of town too often in the summer, as it gets overwhelmed with shark bait this time of year.
3. A particularly naïve or gullible person who is an ideal target for a scam, graft, or con. He'd been in the game of scamming people for so long that he could spot shark bait from a mile away. Don't you dare wear that fanny pack out in town. We'll look like shark bait to the locals!
See also: bait, shark

jailbait

Someone who is attractive but younger than the legal age of consent. I'd stay away from jailbait like her unless you want to spend your future days in a cell!

bait and switch

1. A deceptive sales practice in which a store attracts customers by advertising low prices for products that are not available or are of poor quality, so that customers buy more expensive items instead. A: "Why did you buy such an expensive blender? What happened to the one that was on sale?" B: "That one is sold out and won't be available for months—the store pulled a real bait and switch."
2. Any deceptive practice in which the information initially presented is found to be untrue. I thought my favorite band was playing at this club tonight, but it turned out to be a bait and switch—it's just a cover band.
See also: and, bait, switch

clickbait

Online articles (especially on social media sites) that use provocative or intriguing headlines (often in combination with images) to drive traffic to the source. I wouldn't put too much faith in that article about "the one food no one should ever eat"—it's probably just clickbait.

bait and switch

Fig. a deceptive merchandising practice where one product is advertised at a low price to get people's attention [the bait], but pressure is applied to get the customer to purchase a more expensive item. Walter described how the store used bait and switch, since they never seemed to have in stock the bargains that they advertised. Wilbur accused the merchant of bait and switch practices and stalked out of the store.
See also: and, bait, switch

crow bait

Rur. someone or an animal that is likely to die; a useless animal or person. That old dog used to hunt good, but now he's just crow bait.
See also: bait, crow

Fish or cut bait.

Fig. Do something or get out of the way. Fish or cut bait, Chuck. There's work to be done here. Decide whether you're going to watch or help. Fish or cut bait.
See also: bait, cut, fish

jump at someone or something

to jump in the direction of someone or something. The frog jumped at me, but I dodged it. The cat jumped at the leaf as it fell from the tree.
See also: jump

jump at something

Fig. to seize the opportunity to do something. (See also leap at the opportunity (to do something).) When I heard about John's chance to go to England, I knew he'd jump at it. If something you really want to do comes your way, jump at it.
See also: jump

rise to the bait

Fig. to respond to an allurement; to fall for an enticement or fall into a trap. (Alludes to a fish coming up from deep water to seize bait.) You can get him here easily. Tell him that there will be lots of food and he will rise to the bait. He rose to the bait and did just as he was expected to do.
See also: bait, rise

fish or cut bait

to act or decide you are not going to do anything The time has come when you have to fish or cut bait - either you help us plan what to do or we will decide and go ahead without you.
See also: bait, cut, fish

rise to the bait

to react to something that was said just to make you react Tony keeps saying that women are bad drivers, but I refuse to rise to the bait and don't answer him.
See also: bait, rise

take the bait

also swallow the bait
to accept something that was offered to get you to do something I flirted with Kate, teased her some, but she never took the bait. Others tried to focus on our disagreements, but we didn't take the bait and instead talked about what we can do together.
See also: bait, take

jump at something

to quickly and eagerly accept an opportunity leap at something She jumped at every invitation she got to speak about her discovery.
Usage notes: often used in the form jump at the chance: She jumped at the chance to go to Paris.
See also: jump

swallow/take the bait

to accept something that is only being offered to you so that you will do something The offer of a free radio with every television proved very popular, and hundreds of shoppers swallowed the bait.
See rise to the bait
See also: bait, swallow

Fish or cut bait.

  (American)
something that you say to someone when you want them to make a decision and take action without any more delay Your relationship's going nowhere. It's time to fish or cut bait.
See also: bait, cut, fish

rise to the bait

to react to something that someone has said in exactly the way that they wanted you to react, usually by becoming angry (often negative) Anthony keeps saying that women make bad drivers but I refuse to rise to the bait.
See also: bait, rise

bait and switch

A deceptive commercial practice in which customers are induced to visit a store by an advertised sale item and then are told that it is out of stock or that it is far inferior to some more expensive item. For example, I won't buy a car from this outfit; they're notorious for their bait and switch tactics. The verb to bait has meant to supply a hook or trap with a morsel of food so as to attract a fish or animal since about 1300; the verb to switch has meant to change, alter, or transfer from one thing to another since the 1890s. The pairing of the two, however, dates only from the 1920s, although the practice is surely much older. It is called switch-selling in Britain.
See also: and, bait, switch

fish or cut bait

Either proceed with an activity or abandon it completely. For example, You've been putting off calling him for hours; either fish or cut bait. This expression, often uttered as an imperative, alludes to a fisherman who should either be actively trying to catch fish or cutting up bait for others to use. It was first recorded in the Congressional Record (1876), when Congressman Joseph P. Cannon called for a vote on a bill legalizing the silver dollar: "I want you gentlemen on the other side of the House to 'fish or cut bait.'" A vulgar synonym from the 1940s is shit or get off the pot.
See also: bait, cut, fish

jump at

Also, jump at the chance; jump at the bait. Take prompt advantage of, respond quickly to an opportunity. For example, When Dad said he'd help pay for my vacation, I jumped at the offer, or When the lead singer became ill, Sheila jumped at the chance to replace her, or They offered a large reward, hoping that someone would jump at the bait. [Mid-1700s]
See also: jump

rise to the bait

Be tempted by or react to an enticement, as in We told him there'd be lots of single young women at the party, and he rose to the bait . Likening a fish rising to bait to human behavior dates from the late 1500s.
See also: bait, rise

jump at

v.
1. To leap or bound toward someone or something: The security guard jumped at the attacker.
2. To take advantage of something enthusiastically, as an opportunity; respond quickly to something: We jumped at the chance to invest in the project.
3. To make a sudden verbal attack on someone; lash out at someone: The students jumped at the speaker during the lecture.
See also: jump

Fish or cut bait

sent. Do something or get out of the way. Decide whether you’re going to watch or help. Fish or cut bait.
See also: bait, cut, fish

cut bait

To abandon an activity or enterprise.
See also: bait, cut

fish or cut bait

Informal
To proceed with an activity or abandon it altogether.
See also: bait, cut, fish

get your bait back

Just about recoup your expenditure. An old New England fisherman's expression for barely making expenses. Some who caught just enough fish to sell to compensate for the day's expenses was said to have gotten his bait back.
See also: back, bait, get

fish or cut bait

Do it or leave. The entire expression was “fish or cut bait or go ashore,” a commercial fishing industry warning that if you weren't hauling in a catch, you'd better find something more useful to do, such as cutting baitfish into pieces. And if you couldn't do that, you were just taking up space and you'd be fired. A similar expression that's still in use is the non-gender specific “pee or get off the pot” (or in slightly less genteel surroundings, “shit or get off the pot”).
See also: bait, cut, fish
References in periodicals archive ?
Next, Workman lays the stinger hook alongside of the live bait just in back of the dorsal fin and measures where the hook can be hidden under the skin without impeding its swimming action.
The next day, we decided to fly into a bait Steve had been hunting for a number of years because it always seemed to attract brown bears.
An additional bait formulation therefore is needed for effective control that is not repellent to little fire ants.
Simple and Ready-to-Use When used as directed, Mosquito Bait & Kill starts killing mosquitoes within 24-48 hours and has been shown to collapse populations in treated areas by more than 90 percent within two to three weeks.
The worms approached bait pellets the same way they approached all other potential food sources, and 20 percent of the time they ate it on the spot.
Traps were placed at a density of 60 traps/ha, and the bait trials were conducted from January through the following May.
Bait-fishing is one of the few examples of tool use by birds, but appears to be widespread among ardeids with seven different species catching fish with bait.
Further decreasing the baiting frequency to 6-month intervals and discontinuing bait distribution caused a surge of E.
If adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its September meeting, the proposed rule change would mean an end to the use of worms, salmon eggs, Power Bait, sand shrimp and other popular baits on the most heavily stocked section of the river.
Mark Bishop, from Pencoed, caught 18 carp to 15lb when he baited up with pellets while Barry angler Lee Byrne tricked 75lb of carp with artificial sweetcorn bait.
At Crowley Lake, hundreds of fishermen in boats and several hundred more lining the shoreline tossed a variety of lures and baits while stalking the various species of trout who have been slumbering the winter away.
We bait as populations of alternative prey are crashing.
Nettie Wild and Kirk Tougas were there with their documentary A Place Called Chiapas; Claudia Morgado Escanilla attended with her short Sabor a Mi; Christine Haebler (Hard Core Logo) was in town with a platoon of fellow producers participating in an exchange program; however, the biggest group of West Coasters eating bratwurst and drinking frozen Moskovskaya on the Ku'damm was the contingent attached to Dirty, the sophomore feature from 35-year-old writer/director Bruce Sweeney, whose first feature, Live Bait, captured the $25,000 Toronto-Citytv Award for Best Canadian Feature at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival.
Well, young'uns, Pete was always trying to catch me by buying new fishing equipment and different kinds of bait.