take the bait



An allusion to a fish swallowing a baited hook.


  • (file)


take the bait (third-person singular simple present takes the bait, present participle taking the bait, simple past took the bait, past participle taken the bait)

  1. (idiomatic) To be lured by an offer, flattery, or a provocation into doing something, especially something disadvantageous or dubious.
    • 1997 Aug. 30, John Kifner, "Thousands Call on City Hall To Confront Police Brutality," New York Times (retrieved 8 May 2015):
      "I would like to first of all commend all of the police officers today. . . . They were in fact at various times provoked, and they didn't take the bait in any way, shape or form."
    • 2011 June 2, Nick Duerden, "Dave Gorman: Games for a laugh," The Independent (UK) (retrieved 8 May 2015):
      "He wanted to have a discussion about creationism. . . . But I didn't want that sort of discussion, and when I didn't take the bait, I think I spoiled the script that had been running in his head."
    • 2011 Dec. 9, Craig Whitlock, "Gen. Martin Dempsey knows how to sing a tune," Washington Post (retrieved 8 May 2015):
      [T]he singing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. . . was pressed by our colleague, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, into demonstrating his reported ability to sing a rendition of the Irish holiday song, “Christmas in Killarney.” The general, improbably, took the bait, and you can now hear it.
  2. To nibble at bait (of a fish) on a hook.



See alsoEdit