Bale out

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.

Historical Examples

I got a pump, and we took up the floor and put it in the hole, and began to pump and bale out the water at the same time.
The Missing Link in Modern Spiritualism A. Leah Underhill

If you will go back, I will bale out the water as hard as ever I can.
Hope and Have Oliver Optic

A man put my bed into the bilge, and never said “bale out,” so I was for a wet night, but it turned out better than I expected.
The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Volume II (of 2), 1869-1873 David Livingstone

Leaving the crew to bale out and re-ship the yams, we clambered on deck.
The Ebbing Of The Tide Louis Becke

When the huntsman saw that, he went back and fetched three men to come with buckets and bale out the water.
Grimms’ Fairy Tales The Brothers Grimm

We all had immediately to turn to again and bale out the boat.
Peter Trawl W. H. G. Kingston

Look sharp, Charlie, and bale out that before the next comes.
Parkhurst Boys Talbot Baines Reed

Mademoiselle Brun will bale out, and the young lady will steer.
The Isle of Unrest Henry Seton Merriman

Now well just bale out the tub, set it on its hind legs, hoist sail, and be off.
Twos and Threes G. B. Stern

We had much ado to bale out the water, but by the blessing of God, we got over in safety.
A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. II Robert Kerr

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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