property or money given as surety that a person released from custody will return at an appointed time.
the person who agrees to be liable if someone released from custody does not return at an appointed time.
the state of release upon being bailed.
on bail, released or free as a result of having posted bond:
He was out on bail within 10 hours of his arrest.
to grant or obtain the liberty of (a person under arrest) on security given for his or her appearance when required, as in court for trial.
to deliver possession of (goods) for storage, hire, or other special purpose, without transfer of ownership.
go / stand bail for, to provide bail for:
They spent the night in jail because no one would stand bail for them.
jump bail, to abscond while free on bail:
The suspect jumped bail and is now being sought.
to dip (water) out of a boat, as with a bucket.
to clear of water by dipping (usually followed by out):
to bail out a boat.
to bail water.
Also, bailer. a bucket, dipper, or other container used for bailing.
bail out,

to make a parachute jump from an airplane.
to relieve or assist (a person, company, etc.) in an emergency situation, especially a financial crisis:
The corporation bailed out its failing subsidiary through a series of refinancing operations.
to give up on or abandon something, as to evade a responsibility:
His partner bailed out before the business failed.

Contemporary Examples

Once publishers of two solid media companies, the family is bailing on ‘The Washington Post.’
The Graham Family’s Shock ‘Washington Post’ Sale to Jeff Bezos Eleanor Clift August 5, 2013

Supposedly that will keep those brilliant engineers from bailing out.
Microsoft Will Screw Up Skype Dan Lyons May 9, 2011

The Europeans are drawing a line at bailing out Russian oligarchs who park money in Cyprus.
Cyprus’s Emotionally Satisfying, But Likely Ineffective ‘Bail-in’ Daniel Gross March 24, 2013

It feels like things are reaching a tipping point where people are bailing out, though that is only my anecdotal experience.
Americans in Japan Frustrated by Mixed Messages on Risks Lennox Samuels March 16, 2011

What did the American taxpayer get for bailing out Citigroup?
Do Banks Still Play Us for Fools? Charlie Gasparino September 12, 2010

Historical Examples

It is well to have a large sponge aboard for bailing and for cleaning.
On the Trail Lina Beard and Adelia Belle Beard

After the third bailing the hole would fill with filtered water.
Boy Scouts Handbook Boy Scouts of America

A few minutes’ bailing convinced him that the water was rapidly gaining.
The Boy Chums Cruising in Florida Waters Wilmer M. Ely

They passed the fisherman in the Hampton boat; he was bailing his craft.
Blow The Man Down Holman Day

After a time Bradish and the cook were enabled to rest from the work of bailing.
Blow The Man Down Holman Day

a sum of money by which a person is bound to take responsibility for the appearance in court of another person or himself or herself, forfeited if the person fails to appear
the person or persons so binding themselves; surety
the system permitting release of a person from custody where such security has been taken: he was released on bail
jump bail, (formal) forfeit bail, to fail to appear in court to answer to a charge
stand bail, go bail, to act as surety (for someone)
verb (transitive)
(often foll by out) to release or obtain the release of (a person) from custody, security having been made
(often foll by out) to remove (water) from (a boat)
(cricket) either of two small wooden bars placed across the tops of the stumps to form the wicket

a partition between stalls in a stable or barn, for horses
a portable dairy house built on wheels or skids

(Austral & NZ) a framework in a cowshed used to secure the head of a cow during milking
See bail up
the semicircular handle of a kettle, bucket, etc
a semicircular support for a canopy
a movable bar on a typewriter that holds the paper against the platen

“bond money,” late 15c., a sense that apparently developed from that of “temporary release from jail” (into the custody of another, who gives security), recorded from early 15c. That evolved from earlier meaning “captivity, custody” (early 14c.). From Old French baillier “to control, to guard, deliver” (12c.), from Latin bajulare “to bear a burden,” from bajulus “porter,” of unknown origin. In late 18c. criminal slang, to give leg bail meant “to run away.”

“horizontal piece of wood in a cricket wicket,” c.1742, originally “any cross bar” (1570s), probably identical with Middle French bail “horizontal piece of wood affixed on two stakes,” and with English bail “palisade wall, outer wall of a castle” (see bailey).

“to dip water out of,” 1610s, from baile (n.) “small wooden bucket” (mid-14c.), from nautical Old French baille “bucket, pail,” from Medieval Latin *bajula (aquae), literally “porter of water,” from Latin bajulare “to bear a burden” (see bail (n.1)). To bail out “leave suddenly” (intransitive) is recorded from 1930, originally of airplane pilots. Related: Bailed; bailing.

“to procure someone’s release from prison” (by posting bail), 1580s, from bail (n.1); usually with out. Related: Bailed; bailing.


To leave; cut out, split: Bruce has bailed from the scene entirely/ Most of my friends had bailed to stay with other relatives

Related Terms

jump bail

[1970s+ college students; fr bail out]
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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