shark bait

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See also: shark-bait


A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) off the coast of South Africa

Alternative forms[edit]



shark bait (uncountable)

  1. (humorous) One who has been, or is likely to be, attacked by a shark.
    • 2001, Gordon Korman, Island: Book One: Shipwreck, New York, N.Y.: Scholastic Inc., →ISBN, page 118:
      When Ian informed Will that it was his turn for shark-bait position, he was told, "You know, Lyssa came in second in chess club, but she lost to Seth Birnbaum in the final." By unspoken agreement, Luke, Ian, and Charla stopped asking Will to take his turn dangling in the ocean.
    • 2014 January 13, Ron Gluck, “Swimming the Straits”, in Hey! God, Was That You?: Coincidences from over Five Thousand Flight Hours and Forty-Four Years, Bloomington, Ill.: WestBow Press, →ISBN, pages 68–69:
      Suddenly I realized they were all sharks, big ones, and very much alive! I was shark bait and began swimming as hard as I could for shore, making little headway, before remembering to ask God for protection and strength. He enabled me to relax and swim slowly.
  2. (humorous, by extension) One who is in a precarious or vulnerable position; a dead duck.
    • 2011, Julia Knight, Ten Ruby Trick, Toronto: Carina Press, →ISBN:
      Holden's heart was loud enough to deafen him. He couldn't go against a mage of the power. No one could, no one could ever survive. One word and he was shark-bait.
    • 2014, Edna Buchanan, The Britt Montero Series, omnibus edition, New York, N.Y.: Diversion Books, →ISBN:
      I usually tried to cheer Pete up; this time he was dragging me down with him into his bottomless depths of despair. I simply could not accept the general newsroom consensus that Ryan was shark bait.
  3. (Australia, colloquial) A lone swimmer or surfer far from shore, a shark baiter.
    • 2014, Caroline [M.] Ford, Sydney Beaches: A History, Coogee, N.S.W.: NewSouth Publishing, →ISBN, page 150:
      The meeting formed a committee to investigate and make recommendations to 'counteract the shark menace'. [] [T]he committee [] suggested that 'drastic penalties could be inflicted on surfers who bathed at dangerous hours or swam out far enough to earn the title of "shark bait"'.
  4. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see shark,‎ bait.
    • 1987, Jim Dodge, Not Fade Away, New York, N.Y.: Grove Press, →ISBN, page 59:
      Scumball assured me that Cory's alibi would be watertight, that a lawyer specializing in such claims would represent him in all transactions with the insurance people, that he knew for a fact that the agent who'd sold Cory the policy was sympathetic, and that Cory himself completely understood that if he so much as squeaked his body was shark bait.
    • 1999, Pat Slater, Amazing Facts about Australia (Discover & Learn; 8), Archerfield, Qld.: Steve Parish Publishing, →ISBN, page 48:
      The Australian Sea-lions at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, had almost been wiped out by killing for shark bait when a conservation reserve was proclaimed in 1954.
    • 2003, Jimmie Dean Coy, Valor: A Gathering of Eagles, Mobile, Ala.: Evergreen Press, →ISBN, page 126:
      I thought, "What a way to go. After all I've been through, I'm going to check out as a hunk of shark bait."
    • 2007, Donald E. Biederman [et al.], Law and Business of the Entertainment Industries, 5th edition, Westport, Conn.; London: Praeger Publishers, →ISBN, page 312:
      In "Great White" a local newsman and his cameraman, in order to obtain publicity, decide to lower raw meat off the pier as shark bait.