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I can't understand the difference between "ledger-bait" and "bait". Please, what is the difference between these two words?

If I want to use an animal to lure one huge animal out of its cave, what word should I use?

I was looking for a translation of the Russian word "наживка" and several dictionaries provided me with "ledger-bait" and "bait". Now, I remember that I know the second word as a translation to the Russian word "приманка". However, I am not familiar with the word "ledger-bait". Trying to look for "ledger" ended up with synonyms for tombstone, groundsel, main book, and crossbeam.

I am confused.

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  • Wow, this is a weird one. I have been speaking and reading English for over 40 years and I have never, ever heard or seen "ledger-bait". When I look it up, the only things I can find are things like "fishing bait rigged so that the bait lies on the bottom below the sinker". That's a very rare, obscure term; when I look at Google Books, the only results I can find are over 100 years old. I think your translation dictionary is too comprehensive!
    – stangdon
    Oct 23 '17 at 17:24
  • @stangdon Abbyy Lingvo Biological Dictionary, General Dictionary and Googke Dictionary all give this translation as second possible. Oct 23 '17 at 17:25
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    I'm sure they do, but my point is that they may be trying to give you every possible thing that the Russian word could possibly mean, even if those translations are pretty obscure or unlikely. When I put "наживка" in Google Translate, "ledger-bait" is the last option given, with the shortest gray bar. I guess there are situations where you might want to translate наживка as ledger-bait, but if you look up the definition of ledger-bait it's pretty clearly not what you want. Just use "bait".
    – stangdon
    Oct 23 '17 at 20:19
  • @stangdon and searching наживка in Google gave the second result in my search as Наживки для рыбалки - www.myfishinghome.com. I guess it's for the fishing enthusiasts! :-)
    – Mick
    Oct 24 '17 at 5:34
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Apart from the obscurity of the term ledger-bait, it is a specific kind of bait, and thus you couldn't say

I will use the animal as ledger-bait.

whereas you could say

I will use the animal as bait.

The complement of as in this construction is a role-noun.

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The Free Dictionary defines ledger bait as fishing bait attached to a floating line fastened to the bank of a stream, pond, etc.

The term "ledger" in fishing means

  1. (Angling)
    a. a wire trace that allows the weight to rest on the bottom and the bait to float freely
    b. (as modifier): ledger tackle.

In context, it could be translated that way because you would probably stake a lamb or some other animal to the ground to lure something out of a cave. I'm not familiar enough with fishing to say how much flexibility there is in the definition.

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